Goodbye self-made seals
Designing a pretty seal and sticking it on your own private label – will no longer be possible in the future. The regulation prohibits the “use of unreliable and non-transparent sustainability seals. Instead, the seal jungle is to be thinned out. Certifications will then be subject to minimum ecological standards that are no longer defined by the companies themselves. Such seals already exist today. The EU Ecolabel is one of them. flustix is recognized as an independent seal too: If a product is to be declared “microplastic-free” it must undergo analysis at an accredited laboratory and the results must be verified by an independent certifier. Independent and accredited partners of flustix are DIN CERTCO / TÜV Rheinland and the Wessling Group.
Goodbye untested eco-promises
We know this from online stores: An item of clothing is additionally advertised as “sustainable.” What exactly is sustainable about it remains the online retailer’s secret. In the future, there will be “a ban on general environmental claims used in marketing to consumers where the excellent environmental performance of the product or entrepreneur cannot (…) be proven”.
Prohibition of unsupported declarations of intent
“Climate neutral by 2040” – that’s a quick claim and one that companies like to put in the shop window without showing a plan for how it will be implemented. The new regulation is designed to ensure that “a company can only make an environmental statement about future environmental performance if it contains clear commitments.” Anyone advertising climate neutrality by a certain date must also disclose the measures that will be taken to achieve the goal.
Goodbye to the wolf in sheep’s clothing
Advertising reduced emissions on a milk carton and explaining in the fine print that it was not the milk but the packaging that was at issue – two years ago, one such case ended up in court. The Arla Group had advertised its pasture milk with the words “-71% CO2” on the packaging, the organization Foodwatch sued them – and lost. The court considered the inconspicuous statement on the back to be sufficient. That changes with the new regulation, which includes a “ban on an environmental claim about the entire product if it actually refers only to a specific aspect of the product.” This would expose the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The German Environmental Aid (DUH) does not want to wait that long; it is keeping an eye on any violations. Agnes Sauter, head of DUH’s Ecological Market Monitoring department, says: “Genuine climate protection is only possible if consumers receive honest information about the climate-harmfulness of individual products or services. As a consumer protection organization with the right to take legal action, we will consistently put a stop to greenwashing with alleged climate neutrality.”