Knowledge for better food systems

EC aims to simplify 'confusing' green claims

A company wishing to market its product as green in several Member State markets faces a confusing range of choices of methods and initiatives, and might find it needs to apply several of them in order to prove the product's green credentials. This is turning into a barrier for the circulation of green products in the Single Market.

Consumers are also confused by the stream of incomparable and diverse environmental information: according to a recent Eurobarometer, 48 % of European consumers are confused by the stream of environmental information they receive. This also affects their readiness to make green purchases.

This complexity and variety of 'green' initiatives for products in the EU has prompted a new proposed initiative by the European Commission to create a single market for eco-claims.

The Single Market for Green Products initiative proposes a set of actions to overcome these problems as follows:

  • it establishes two methods to measure environmental performance throughout the lifecycle, the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF);
  • it recommends the use of these methods to Member States, companies, private organisations and the financial community through a Commission Recommendation;
  • it announces a three-year testing period to develop product- and sector-specific rules through a multi-stakeholder process;
  • it provides principles for communicating environmental performance, such as transparency, reliability, completeness, comparability and clarity;
  • it supports international efforts towards more coordination in methodological development and data availability.

The three-year testing period will be launched soon. An open call for volunteers will be published by the Commission on the Product Environmental Footprint and the Organisation Environmental Footprint sites, inviting companies, industrial and stakeholder organisations in the EU and beyond to participate in the development of product-group specific and sector-specific rules.

For more information see here.

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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