EU says ‘not banning carbon offsets’ in greenwashing crackdown

(EurActiv, 24 Mar 2023) New legislation presented by the European Commission on Wednesday (22 March) to clamp down on greenwashing allows businesses to continue making carbon-neutral claims, provided they meet specific transparency requirements.

For climate-related claims – such as ‘CO2 neutral’ or ‘net zero’ – the proposed Green Claims Directive requires companies to distinguish between their own emission reduction efforts and the use of carbon-offsetting schemes, such as planting trees.

Companies are requested to specify whether offsets relate to emission reductions or removals and provide additional information, including the methodology used to substantiate the claim and the share of total emissions addressed through offsetting. 

“The message needs to be clear, we are not banning carbon offsets, they are allowed,” stated Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, who presented the proposal.

“The only thing is that the consumers must be fully informed. If you’re stating that the product you are selling is carbon neutral, and it’s carbon offset, additional information is needed to specify its carbon offset,” he added. 

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EurActiv, 24 Mar 2023: EU says ‘not banning carbon offsets’ in greenwashing crackdown