Greenwashing, European Union proposes to regulate the phenomenon
Attention to the environment has now become a priority for many companies, which are constantly communicating their commitment to environmental sustainability through advertising campaigns that are increasingly featured in traditional media and on social networks. However, companies’ claims are not always backed up by hard facts, and this phenomenon has been termed as greenwashing.
The European Commission has decided to put an end to this practice by introducing a proposed law that would oblige member states to impose sanctions against unsubstantiated claims of environmental sustainability. The Commission’s main goal is to protect consumers and supplement the 2019 Green Deal with a standard procedure for EU states to ascertain the validity of what companies sponsor in advertisements.
The draft law provides for the appointment of independent inspectors, who will verify the validity of environmental-themed statements. In addition, penalties should be effective, proportionate, and dissuasive, taking into account the economic benefits of fronting environmentalism.
The proposal was welcomed by the European Consumers’ Organization (Beuc), which welcomed the Commission’s decision to support regulators in combating greenwashing.
A serious problem for consumers
Greenwashing represents a serious problem for consumers, who might be misled by unfounded claims about the environmental sustainability of a product or company. Not only that, but this practice is also a detriment to the environment, as it may lead consumers to believe that they are more virtuous than they actually are.
In fact, greenwashing often causes consumers to choose products that are not actually sustainable, but are presented as such through misleading marketing.
The European Commission’s proposed law is therefore an important step in protecting consumers and ensuring the truthfulness of information in advertisements. However, to be effective, the law will need to be supported by an appropriate system of control and proportionate penalties. In addition, it will be important to raise consumer awareness of the risks of greenwashing and the need to make informed choices about environmental sustainability.
Ultimately, combating greenwashing is an important goal to ensure environmental sustainability and consumer protection.
The European Commission’s proposed law is a step in the right direction and could be an opportunity to promote more transparent and truthful information on environmental sustainability. However, it will be necessary to continue to monitor and improve the control system to ensure the effectiveness of the law and consumer protection.