European Commission to ban greenwashing including false labelling


As part of its circular economy package, the European Commission has announced that it will ban greenwashing among Member States.

Under the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the list of product characteristics will be expanded to include environmental or social measures to avoid misleading consumers.


This will include:

  • Not informing about features introduced to limit durability, for example, a software which stops or downgrades the functionality of the good after a particular period of time;
  • Making generic, vague environmental claims where the excellent environmental performance of the product or trader cannot be demonstrated. Examples of such generic environmental claims are ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘eco’ or ‘green’, which wrongly suggest or create the impression of excellent environmental performance;
  • Making an environmental claim about the entire product, when it really concerns only a certain aspect of the product;
  • Displaying a voluntary sustainability label which was not based on a third-party verification scheme or established by public authorities;
  • Not informing that a good has limited functionality when using consumables, spare parts or accessories not provided by the original producer.

Under the new circular economy proposals, consumers will also have a right to information on the durability and repairability of products.

European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said: “If we do not start consuming more sustainably, we will not achieve our European Green Deal goals – it is as simple as that.

“While most consumers are willing to contribute, we have also seen an increase in ‘greenwashing’ and early obsolescence practices. To become the real actors of the green transition, consumers must have a right to information to make sustainable choices. They must also be protected against unfair commercial practices which abuse their interest in buying green.”

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