Fighting greenwashing: the EU amends the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive

March 25, 2024. On February 28, 2024, the EU published Directive (EU) 2024/825 empowering consumers for the green transition through stronger protection against unfair practices and through better information. The Directive amends Directive 2005/29/EU on unfair commercial practices and Directive 2011/83/EU on consumer rights.

The objective of the new Directive is to empower consumers for the green transition so they can make informed purchasing decisions and have an active role in the green transition. To do so, the Directive establishes rules to fight greenwashing.

EU member states will have time until March 27, 2026, to transpose the Directive into national law. The measures will start applying as of September 27, 2026.

Prohibition of generic environmental claims

Annex I to Directive 2005/29/EU lists commercial practices considered unfair in all circumstances. Directive (EU) 2024/825 adds several points to the list. In particular, it prohibits using generic environmental claims for which there is no demonstrated excellent performance. Some examples of generic environmental claims are “eco-friendly”, “green”, “biodegradable”, and “ecological”. To avoid being considered generic, a claim shall include the specifications in clear and prominent terms on the same medium (packaging, label, website, etc.).

Furthermore, the Directive highlights that claims as “sustainable” and “conscious” cannot be used if they are linked to environmental qualities as these terms also relate to other aspects, like social ones.

Some other added commercial practices always unfair are the following:

  • Making an environmental claim about the whole product or the company’s entire business when it concerns only an aspect of the product or a specific company activity.
  • Presenting legal requirements as a distinctive feature of a product.

Future environmental performance and comparative claims

Directive (EU) 2024/825 states that claims with future environmental performances shall have clear, objective, and publicly available commitments with an implementation plan and time-bound targets.

Moreover, the new Directive provides that when a claim compares products regarding their environmental, social, and circularity characteristics, traders must provide the following information:

  • Method of comparison
  • Products object of the comparison
  • Products suppliers
  • Measures in place to keep the information up to date


In addition to Directive (EU) 2024/825, the EU institutions are working on a Directive on Green Claims imposing further requirements for the substantiation and communication of green claims and environmental labelling schemes. On March 12, 2024, the EU Parliament adopted its first reading position. The file is now before the Council for its first reading.

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  • Official Journal of the European Union. (2024). Directive (EU) 2024/825 of 28 February 2024 amending Directives 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU as regards empowering consumers for the green transition through better protection against unfair practices and through better information




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