By the end of March, the European Commission has presented its long-awaited Green Claims Directive. The Bremen Cotton Exchange is a member of the Make the Label Count initiative (MTLC) which has been working to ensure that sustainability claims for textiles in the EU are fair and credible.
Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) not included
MTLC welcomes the proposal and is pleased to see that one of their goals has come to fruition – references to the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) method have been removed from the Commission’s proposal, with only a methodology based on scientific evidence serving as sufficient criteria. The European Commission has clearly recognised the shortcomings of the PEF methodology and committed to improving it further. Further clarity is needed on several aspects, including on the impact of specific product categories and the independent claims verifier.
The proposal will now enter a long process where it’s debated and amended by all 27 Member States and the European Parliament before it takes its final form. MTLC will continue advocating to ensure the PEF is not inserted back into the final law, until it is made fit for purpose. The directive will likely not enter into force until mid- or end of 2024 after which Member States would have two years to transpose the Directive into national law.
Key takeaways of the Green Claims proposal
- Proposes common criteria against greenwashing and misleading environmental claims.
- Applies to voluntary environmental claims on both products and services – including textiles & footwear.
- References to the PEF have been completely removed with no alternative methodology having been proposed, but claims should “rely on recognised scientific evidence and state of the art technical knowledge”.
- Allows existing private labels to continue to exist if they comply with the rules of this Directive.
- Prohibits claims or labels that use aggregate scoring of the product‘s overall environmental impact, unless set in EU rules.
- Bans new public labelling schemes, unless developed at EU level, and any new private schemes will need to be pre-approved by the Commission to be allowed.
- Establishes independent verifiers – officially accredited bodies – to carry out an ex-ante verification and enforcement of claims.
The EU wants your feedback on the green claims proposal.