EU Environment Ministers adopt joint position on the proposal on the Green Claims Directive

BRUSSELS, 17 June – Today, EU Environment Ministers adopted a joint position on the proposal for the Green Claims Directive (GCD), a new EU consumer protection law setting out detailed requirements for companies making environmental claims about their products or organisations.

The GCD aims to mitigate the risk of greenwashing in the EU and help EU consumers make better-informed decisions. In doing so, it would require companies to substantiate their business-to-consumer climate-related claims by carrying out a thorough assessment that must meet specific requirements, such as providing accurate and detailed information, demonstrating additionality, and reporting greenhouse gas offsets in a transparent manner.

Member States agreed that companies should be allowed to make offsetting claims as long as they can demonstrate the use of high-quality credits and meet the disclosure requirements for carbon credits according to existing sustainability reporting rules already established in the European Sustainability Reporting Standards.

“We welcome the Council position, which effectively encourages companies to aim for higher climate ambition by harnessing the power of carbon markets,” said Dirk Forrister, IETA’s CEO.

The European Parliament did not take the same approach, instead proposing more stringent requirements to limit the use of carbon credits in company claims to the residual emissions companies engaging in business-to-consumer commercial practices. It also proposed a like-for-like principle, requiring permanent removals for claims relating to fossil fuel emissions, and encouraged an EU standard, or equivalent, for credits used according to the recently approved EU Carbon Removals Certification Framework (CRCF).

“It is crucial that the final text promotes high-quality corporate action through voluntary environmental claims and incentivizes investments in carbon removals, which are necessary for the EU to meet its 2050 net-zero target,” added Forrister.

Inter-institutional trilogue negotiations are expected to start after the summer recess. The GCD is being discussed only months after the EU adopted its Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition Directive, thereby introducing a ban on product climate-neutrality claims based on the offsetting of greenhouse gas emissions.