CLEPA New Position Paper: Green Claims Directive should support customers in making sustainable choices

  • Automotive suppliers are actively developing strategies and pre-competitive partnerships to provide sound, reliable and comparable tools to measure sustainability progress
  • Uncertainty in the text, legal concerns and financial costs of certifications could prevent companies from communicating about their achievements
  • CLEPA urges the Council and the subsequent Trilogue negotiations to ensure that the new legislation will support transparency, benchmarking and information exchange

in CLEPA, 08-05-2024


The proposal 2023/0085 for a Directive by the European Council and the Parliament on substantiation and communication of explicit environmental claims (Green Claims Directive), aims to enhance sustainability and address the risk of greenwashing in product communication. While CLEPA supports this effort, in its current form, the Green Claims Directive may negatively impact the transition towards more sustainable products. A comprehensive overview of challenges and recommendations by the European automotive supply industry can be found in CLEPA’s new position paper.

Fact-based communication on the environmental contribution of products and services ensures a level-playing field for market actors in the sector. Automotive suppliers have been developing strategies and pre-competitive partnerships to provide sound, reliable and comparable tools to measure sustainability progress. Automotive supply companies acknowledge the importance of transparently communicating on the sustainability of their products. This communication not only empowers consumers to make informed choices, but also fosters a marketplace that promotes truly sustainable products. The Green Claims Directive should aid consumers in discerning between products of varying degrees of sustainability, thereby encouraging greater transparency and accountability across industry.

However, the Green Claims Directive could, in its current form, introduce an excessively high bar for sustainability communication. Uncertainty in the text, legal concerns and financial costs of certifications may result in preventing companies from communicating about sustainability entirely, which would, in turn, mean less transparency for customers. To achieve a sustainable economy, consumers need to be able to not only identify the best-in-class performing product, but also to distinguish between better and worse products. It is therefore crucial that the efforts to substantiate environmental claims are proportional to the competitive advantages that such claims bring to the market.

CLEPA suggests addressing the following elements, explained in depth in the position paper:

  • Subjective wording and definitions
  • Mandatory third-party verification
  • Lack of harmonisation

If companies are not able to benchmark themselves and their products on sustainability, there is a very concrete risk that no market interest and consumer request can be leveraged to afford the significant investments that are needed upfront and throughout the greening process. We urge the Council and the subsequent Trilogue negotiations to consider these aspects and develop a harmonised legislation that creates a level-playing field for EU stakeholders; and not a barrier to environmental communication.

 

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About CLEPA

  • CLEPA represents over 3,000 companies supplying state-of-the-art components and innovative technology for safe, smart and sustainable mobility, investing over €30 billion yearly in research and development. Automotive suppliers directly employ about 1.7 million people in Europe.