What exactly will be banned in the future?
Fake seals: affixing a sustainability seal that is not based on a certification system or has not been introduced by public authorities
Unsubstantiated claims: Making a general environmental claim without being able to provide evidence: “environmentally friendly”, “green”, “ecological”, “environmentally sound”.
Pars pro toto: making an environmental claim about the entire product, even though it relates only to a particular aspect of the product
- A shampoo bottle is advertised as “made from recycled material” even though only the lid is made from recyclates
Selling standards as a distinctive feature: Presenting the legally mandated requirements for all products in the relevant product category on the Union market as a distinguishing feature of the retailer’s offering.
- Legal standards, such as the future minimum use of recyclates is promoted as an outstanding environmental performance, thus creating the impression of committed environmental protection.
Lazy compromises: Environmental statement refers to positive impact of a product, but conceals the fact that this results in a negative impact elsewhere.
Change of packaging material: Instead of the previous plastic mono-material, a poorly recyclable composite material with paper or cardboard eco-optics is chosen for a food product. This does not make the product more sustainable.
Use of suggestive imagery: Imagery and overall presentation of the product, including layout, choice of colors, images, pictures, sounds, symbols, or labels included in the environmental claim, should truthfully and accurately represent the extent of environmental benefits achieved and not overstate the environmental benefits achieved.
- Example milk package: the package depicts a cow in a green meadow under a bright blue sky. The sun is shining, the cow is happy. Reality: Stable keeping, connection.
What will happen to existing eco-labels?
National bodies will test and evaluate all existing certification systems according to a uniform methodology. If a certificate of conformity is issued, it will be recognized throughout the EU. The European Commission expects that about 100 of the current 230 or so eco-labels will remain throughout the EU.
Can new environmental labels be established?
In the free market: Yes, but only if they a) meet all the requirements of the directive from the outset and b) additionally show a special benefit. National and regional labels may not be newly introduced. Only the EU may create additional eco-labels as required.
What are the EU requirements for eco-labels?
An eco-label must be based on a certification system. The evaluation must be based on scientific knowledge and state-of-the-art technology. In addition, certification must be carried out by independent third parties.
Information about the ownership and decision-making bodies of the ecolabel scheme must be transparent, accessible free of charge, easy to understand and sufficiently detailed. Information on the objectives of the eco-label scheme and the requirements and procedures for monitoring compliance with the eco-label scheme shall also be transparent, accessible free of charge, easy to understand and sufficiently detailed.
Conditions for participation in the eco-labeling schemes must be proportionate to the size and turnover of the enterprises so that small and medium-sized enterprises are not excluded. Requirements for the environmental labeling system must have been developed by experts and submitted for consultation to a heterogeneous group of stakeholders. The eco-labeling scheme must have a complaint and dispute resolution procedure.
How will the EU verify this?
The EU installs a verification system, each member state must designate an appropriate competent authority responsible for enforcing the provisions of the proposal. The national auditing body is required to carry out regular checks.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
The level of fines depends on the seriousness of the infringement; for example, repeat offenders will be punished more severely. For example, revenue earned by the trader from a transaction involving the products in question may be confiscated. The maximum fine is to be at least four percent of the total annual turnover. There is also the threat of exclusion from public procurement procedures and from access to public funds, including tenders, grants and concessions.