The Green Deal was launched by the European Commission in December 2019 with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Concerning the agriculture, a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system is to be established within the “Farm to Fork” strategy. There will be many changes, especially in the area of sustainability. 

Today, there are already numerous sustainability labels in the EU. For example, 230 voluntary ecolabels and 901 labeling schemes exist in the food sector. But currently, only 35% of sustainability labels require specific data to prove compliance with the labelling requirements. So who can still keep track of this overwhelming and confusing jungle?

One of the most important general principles in food law is: Food information, in any respect, shall not be misleading. To prevent greenwashing, environmental claims and sustainability labels will be strictly regulated in the future. For this reason, several directives and regulations are being drafted by the EU Commission to promote the green transition.

At the end of last year, a New Commission Notice on the interpretation and application of the Unfair Commercial Practice Directive (‘the UCPD Guidance’) was adopted. The UCPD Guidance provides, among others, a definition and concrete principles for environmental claims. 

Building on this, a proposal for a Directive on consumer protection to combat unfair practices and improve information has just been published. This draft legislation aims to empower consumers to make informed and environment-friendly purchasing decisions and thus contribute to more sustainable consumption. Furthermore, the rules will ensure consumer protection against false or deceptive green claims while prohibiting ‘greenwashing’ and practices that mislead consumers. Another proposal for a regulation on the verification of green claims based on a standard methodology – the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) – to assess their impact on the environment has been announced for July 2022. a&r will keep you updated about the ongoing changes.