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Eliminating Misleading Environmental Messages: Respond to WTO TBT Committee Directive on Voluntary Environmental Claims in B2C Communications

7/20/2023

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee has released a notification for the proposed EU Green Claims Directive that aims to address greenwashing through voluntary environmental claims in business-to-consumer (B2C) commercial communications. The directive seeks to make B2C relations fair and transparent, ultimately supporting the welfare of consumers and the EU economy. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encourages relevant stakeholders to respond to the proposed directive via the U.S. TBT Enquiry point by August 29, 2023.

In the European Commission’s proposed EU Claims Directive, companies in Europe would be required to provide evidence about their climate-friendly claims, in an effort to put a halt to misleading green labels placed on various types of products, ranging from electronics to cosmetics. The directive contains measures to ensure the reliability of green labels amid a rising number of environmental labels in the market. The directive references international and national standards, and the role of conformity assessment; it covers technical regulations including terminology, symbols, packaging, and marking and labelling requirements as they apply to a product, process, or production method.

Furthermore, the directive includes requirements for the substantiation and communication of voluntary environmental claims and labels on goods, services, and organizations. It also lays out requirements for environmental labelling schemes. The directive would also facilitate enforcement by consumer protection authorities.

The proposed directive aims to ensure that consumers are empowered to make more informed choices and play an active role in the transition to “green,” with protection from greenwashing.

Access the TBT directive and draft directive documents online. All comment submissions from U.S. stakeholders, including businesses, trade associations, U.S domiciled standards development organizations and conformity assessment bodies, consumers, and U.S. government agencies should be sent directly to the USA WTO TBT Enquiry Point at [email protected] by August 29, 2023. Please include the notification symbol and notification title in the subject of the message and in the comments document.

Related: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission recently sought comments on potential updates and changes to the Green Guides for the Use of Environmental Claims, which help marketers avoid making environmental marketing claims that are unfair or deceptive under Section 5 of the FTC Act. Learn more in the FTC press release.

CONTACT

Jana Zabinski

Director, Communications and Public Relations

Phone:
212.642.8901

Email:
[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist

Phone:
212.642.4956

Email:
[email protected]