NATRUE applauds the European Council’s recent decision to initiate negotiations with the European Parliament on the Green Claims Directive (GCD). This significant Directive aims to ensure that voluntarily environmental claims and labels made by companies are reliable, verifiable, and comparable across the EU. By doing so, it aims to substantially reduce greenwashing practices.

NATRUE believes that the GCD, alongside the recently approved Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition Directive, will be pivotal in combating greenwashing, supporting a level playing field, and providing legal clarity for traders. These measures are expected to enhance consumer trust and promote genuine environmental sustainability in the marketplace.

The importance of the GCD for the cosmetics industry
The GCD is particularly important for the cosmetics industry, where claims significantly differentiate products, stimulate purchasing intents, foster competition, and highlight innovation. For the natural and organic cosmetics sector, the risk of greenwashing has been a long-term issue given the lack of an official regulatory definition for cosmetic product claims such as “natural” or “organic”, which may lead to consumer confusion and mistrust.

As a horizontal piece of legislation, the GCD aims to address greenwashing more broadly and assist consumers in making truly sustainable choices by establishing minimum requirements for the substantiation, communication, and verification of explicit environmental claims. This will be achieved though the principle of ex-ante verification, requiring all green claims to be verified by an independent third-party before being placed on the market. A robust basis for claims substantiation, as well as the pragmatic proposal to introduce a simplified procedure to exempt certain types of explicit environmental claims to eligible operators is equally supported.

NATRUE welcomes the Council’s General Approach to a clear distinction between explicit environmental claims and environmental labels and would require Companies to use clear criteria and scientific evidence to substantiate their claims and labels, which must be easy to understand.

What’s next?
The General Approach of the EU Council empowers the European Commission to establish a simplified procedure for certain environmental claims through secondary legislation. In this regard, NATRUE will continue to advocate for an effective and practical EU legislative framework under the Green Claims Directive, that ensure clarity, predictability, and legal certainty for all interested parties.

NATRUE supports these initiatives as they align with its commitment to transparency and integrity in natural and organic cosmetic. NATRUE believes that this Directive will support consumers to make more informed choices concerning the environmental characteristics of the products they purchase. For this reason, NATRUE will continue to engage in a constructive dialogue with policy makers to ensure a practical and efficient regulatory framework.

For more information, please read the official Council’s press release.