Climate Labels Amid Profound Transformations

21 February 2024

Is the CO2 Neutral label still fit for purpose? An EU review

The European Commission proposed changes in how companies can talk about their sustainability efforts, tackling greenwashing. Responding to unsubstantiated claims like ‘eco-friendly’, ‘carbon neutral’ or ‘biodegradable’, the EU legislators have set some clear parameters through two legislative instruments, which are being finalised: Empowering Consumers Directive and the Green Claims Directive.

The Empowering Consumers Directive will regulate vague, unsubstantiated environmental claims such as “eco-friendly,” “natural,” “biodegradable,” “carbon-neutral,” or “eco”. This will mean that only labels based on official certification schemes or established by public authorities will be permitted in the European Union. Environmental claims suggesting that a product has a neutral, reduced, or positive environmental impact due to emission compensation programs, like offsetting, will be restricted and subject to conditions. The Green Claims Directive will require companies who make claims to have verified evidence that is easy for consumers to access. It will also place some harsh penalties on companies who don’t conform.

CO2 Neutral label from CO2logic addresses many greenwashing concerns

CO2logic has proudly used its ‘CO2 Neutral’ label for the past 15 years. The label already focuses on increasing its ambition in terms of emission reductions, demands official accountability from the client’s top management in the implementation of a climate strategy, ensures the transparency and comparability of data through its QR code and strengthens credibility with the mandatory third-party verification performed by a third party verifier, Vinçotte.

When will the EU changes be applicable?

In about two years, these changes will be enforced by EU member states. At the moment, the EU is finalising the regulatory process for the Empowering Consumers Directive and the Green Claims Directive. Both legislative instruments will be published by the end of this parliamentary session in May 2024.

Always keeping a close eye on changes.

CO2logic, a South Pole company, is closely monitoring the dynamic regulatory advancements in the EU and other jurisdictions. We want to ensure the CO2 Neutral label remains an effective tool to fight greenwashing and elevate climate ambition..

We believe companies must continue to communicate their environmental ambitions and strategies, especially when their claims are verifiable! The latest Net Zero report from South Pole, based on interviews with CSR executives from major companies, confirms the trend outlined in 2023, showing that more and more companies are deliberately limiting or avoiding climate communications. Legislative changes like the Green Claims Directive and the Empowering Consumers Directive will ensure that greenwashers are driven out of the market, giving companies confidence to communicate accurately about the impact their businesses have against climate change.

If you have specific questions about your approach to emissions reporting or using a label, please contact co2neutrallabel@southpole.com.