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Green Claims: European Commission brings clarity, but more action is needed

Wednesday, 15 November 2023
Newsletter sustainability

In October 2023, MEP Engerer (S&D/Malta) and MEP Ansip (Renew/Estonia) jointly published their draft report on the Green Claims proposal. HOTREC believes that the report adds clarity to the proposal, particularly by specifying that verification requirements do not apply to traders displaying an environmentally verified label. 

The draft report addresses small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), advocating for provisions that provide support and proposing the creation of a forum for the development of secondary legislation. This approach aligns with the industry’s commitment to inclusivity and reducing bureaucratic hurdles. 

HOTREC expresses the hope that companies will retain the option to obtain a label, even if they handle substances potentially associated with health risks, such as acrylamide in items like fries or toasted bread. This position mirrors the industry’s established practices, where companies adhere to rigorous guidelines to minimize potential risks. 

Furthermore, improvements are deemed necessary regarding the third-party verification scheme or the penalties regime. The current Commission proposal imposes additional costs and administrative burdens, particularly on SMEs. To alleviate these burdens, HOTREC proposes its preferred option: making the third-party verification requirement voluntary for all companies. Under this model, companies would follow legislative requirements independently, signing a declaration of compliance. Member States would conduct random checks, and infringements would result in liability and penalties. As a secondary solution, if the first option proves unfeasible, HOTREC suggests that the alternative scheme applies, at the very least, to all SMEs. 

As the debate on the Green Claims proposal unfolds, HOTREC looks to both co-legislators for a balanced and fair text that considers the interests of the industry at large.