European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee adopts report which falls short on Empowering consumers for the Green Transition
Brussels, 28 March 2023 – AIM, the European Brands Association, welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament’s IMCO Committee of the report on the proposal on Empowering consumers for the Green Transition, but regrets the missed opportunity to establish clear rules for companies who want to empower consumers with trusted, relevant and transparent information.
Today’s adoption of the IMCO Committee’s report is a positive step towards the establishment of a framework for environmental claims and sustainability labels, to empower consumers to make more sustainable choices. AIM shares this objective and supports the creation of a clear and robust legal framework to eliminate greenwashing practices, empower consumers with trusted, relevant and transparent information, as well as create a level playing field among businesses.
However, rules agreed upon by EU policymakers must be clear and provide the necessary legal certainty for brands that are investing in more sustainable products and want to communicate this information to their consumers, to empower them to make more sustainable choices.
AIM regrets in particular that the amendments adopted by the IMCO Committee missed the opportunity to:
- Allow companies to use digital means (QR, weblink or equivalent) to provide the specification on the environmental claim where there is limited space on the same medium. Not all upcoming information requirements will fit on-pack. Thus, enabling the use of digital means is necessary to ensure that companies can provide the specification on the environmental claim to the consumer and comply with the proposed measures. This is also needed to ensure the coherence of this proposal with the recently published one on Substantiating Green Claims, which already includes the possibility to provide information on the claim in a physical form or through digital solutions.
- Clearly regulate climate and carbon neutrality claims, instead of banning them. We call on EU policymakers to adopt a clear, robust and EU-harmonised legal framework to allow companies to communicate to consumers about their investments and commitments to achieve carbon neutrality and net zero by 2050. On the one hand, this will truly empower consumers to select more sustainable product options, while on the other hand, it is an incentive for manufacturers to innovate and invest in their sustainability objectives even more.
However, we agree that claims on carbon neutrality solely based on carbon offsetting should not be allowed and we thus urge EU policymakers to clarify the scope of the provision, avoiding a complete ban on these claims.
- Ensure that also product rating services are subject to the transparency requirements. The current notion of comparison tools does not cover product rating tools. These tools, often in the form of an app, do not necessarily compare products but rate them based on their characteristics, including their safety, or their environmental or social aspects. They are commercial services that are increasingly used by consumers, often for a subscription fee, to make their purchasing decisions. These commercial practices should also be subject to clear transparency requirements, be based on objective and verifiable information and should not imply that products are unsafe while they comply with applicable legal requirements.
“We fully support the creation of a clear and robust legal framework to eliminate greenwashing practices, but it is a missed opportunity to prevent the use of digital means to provide trusted information to consumers”, commented Michelle Gibbons, Director General of AIM. “We can nudge further sustainable consumption by equipping people with the right information on the product, including on climate and carbon neutrality claims – banning claims, rather than regulating them, is a missed chance to empower consumers”.
AIM is therefore calling on MEPs to address these shortcomings by tabling appropriate amendments in plenary, to ensure that the proposed text provides the needed clarity to allow companies to make environmental claims while ensuring that consumers are provided with the appropriate information to make sustainable choices at the point of purchase.
For further information, please contact: Simona Camilli
Tel: +32 2 736 03 05 • Email: email@example.com
AIM (Association des Industries de Marque) is the European Brands Association, which represents manufacturers of branded consumer goods in Europe on key issues that affect their ability to design, distribute and market their brands. AIM’s membership comprises 2500 businesses ranging from SMEs to multinationals, directly or indirectly through its corporate and national association members.
More information: www.aim.be