Brussels, 3 February 2021 - The Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) sector welcomes the latest screening of websites by the European Commission and national consumer authorities, which this year focused on ‘greenwashing’ and calls on the EU to ensure robust enforcement of existing and upcoming rules so that environmental standards are met.
Greenwashing is the practice by which companies claim they are applying more sustainable measures for the environment than in actual reality. This initiative is one of several the Commission undertakes to enable consumers to make more sustainable choices.
The screening analysed green online claims across various sectors and found that in 42% of cases, these claims were exaggerated, false or deceptive and could potentially qualify as unfair commercial practices under EU rules.
The problem with greenwashing
Greenwashing has grown as consumers increasingly seek to buy environmentally sound products. It affects both:
· Consumers who are trying to purchase and consume products in a sustainable and environmentally conscious manner,
· Manufacturers across various industries that are labelling their products according to test results based on international standards and often verified by accredited testing bodies.
Vague or false statements regarding products’ sustainability are misleading consumers. It is therefore important that existing regulatory framework and upcoming EU initiatives are used to empower consumers in the green transition, and to prevent non-compliant products from entering the marketplace, on the shelves or online.
Equally, the EU should ensure that all products not complying with other pieces of legislation are not placed on the EU market. The current situation allows for certain manufacturers to exaggerate their products’ credibility, which can hamper consumers making decisions based on clear facts.
TIC Council Director General, Hanane Taidi said: “We are looking forward to the EU’s initiatives against greenwashing. In the meantime, the EU must ensure the existing rules are robustly enforced. The TIC sector is heavily invested in this debate because it helps manufacturers assess the compliance of their products with all legislation, including on energy, resource efficiency, traceability, social compliance and safety. It also helps them translate complicated requirements into simple, understandable labelling so that consumers can make the right choices.”
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About TIC Council
TIC Council is the global trade federation representing the independent third-party Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) industry which brings together more than 90-member companies and organizations from around the world to speak with one voice. Its members provide services across a wide range of sectors: consumer products, medical devices, petroleum, mining and metals, food, and agriculture, among others. Through the provision of these services, TIC Council members assure that not only regulatory requirements are met, but also that reliability, economic value, and sustainability are enhanced. TIC Council’s members are present in more than 160 countries and employ more than 300,000 people across the globe.