The European Parliament has approved new bills banning greenwashing that protect consumers from misleading companies and the premature obsolescence of electronics.
The new guideline, entitled “Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition”, is mainly intended to help consumers make environmentally friendly choices and encourage companies to make sustainable products with a longer lifespan. The proposal was approved by a large majority: 544 votes in favour, 18 votes against and 17 abstentions.
Misleading green advertising
Parliament supports a ban on the use of general environmental claims such as “environmentally friendly”, “natural”, “biodegradable”, “climate neutral” or “eco”, unless there is detailed evidence for this. Other misleading practices are also prohibited, such as claims about an entire product when in fact they only apply to part of it.
Parliament wants only sustainability labels that are based on official certification rules or that have been set up by a government body to be used.
In addition, parliament is calling for a ban on interventions that shorten the lifespan of a product or lead to goods malfunctioning prematurely. Such a ban should ensure that products last longer. Also, manufacturers must not limit the functionality of a product if it is used with spare parts or accessories from other companies, such as chargers or ink cartridges.
And consumers should be informed about any repair restrictions before purchasing. This way they can choose goods that last longer and can be repaired.
“The industry will no longer be able to profit from making consumer goods that break once the warranty period has expired,” says rapporteur Biljana Borzan from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. “Consumers must be given clear information about the possibilities and costs of repairs. On product labels, buyers will be able to read which goods are guaranteed to last longer. Producers whose goods are more sustainable will benefit. And by only allowing certified and substantiated environmental claims, the jungle of false environmental claims will come to an end.”
The position of the parliament follows an earlier position of the Council of the EU, in which all member states are represented, at the beginning of this month. Parliament and the member states can now start negotiations on the final content and wording of the directive.
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