European printing industry association Intergraf has welcomed the adoption of the European Commission’s proposed directive on and communication of explicit environmental claims (green claims directive) presented on 22 March 2023.
This new legal framework addresses claims made by companies in business-to-consumers commercial practices. The work of Intergraf on carbon footprint and current discussions on environmental schemes are providing a good basis to support printing companies complying with the future requirements on green claims, the association said.
New EU legislation on green claims
With an aim to fight greenwashing, the proposed directive sets general requirements on substantiating environmental claims, including carrying out an assessment that should rely on widely recognized scientific evidence and demonstrate that environmental impacts are significant from a life-cycle perspective. Member states will set up procedures for verifying and certifying the substantiation of environmental claims. The proposal also sets requirements for environmental labels, which will also be verified at national level.
Penalties will be applicable at national level to companies infringing the rules. The commission asks member states to set penalties that are ‘effective, proportionate and dissuasive’. The legislation is not applicable to micro-companies (less than 10 employees or annual turnover of less than €2 million) unless they want their claims to be verified and certified.
Assessing environmental schemes for printed products
Numerous ecolabels and environmental schemes are available on the market for printed products. Currently, Intergraf works on supporting both printing companies and their customers in their strategic selection of environmental schemes related to printed products by defining the environmental parameters that are relevant to our sector.
The aim of Intergraf is to allow companies to make informed environmental decisions and to communicate them in a transparent way. The requirements of the draft Directive are fully in line with the approach of Intergraf.
The draft Directive will be scrutinized by the European Parliament and Council in the coming months. Once adopted, Member States will have to implement the requirements in national law. The measures will be applicable two years after the entry into force of the directive.
“Our work on carbon footprint and future approach to assessing environmental schemes aim to support printing companies, their customers, and other actors in the value chain to substantiate their environmental claims related to printed products and avoid greenwashing in the industry. Our sector will be well-equipped to comply with the ambitious requirements of the draft EU Green Claims Directive,” said Laetitia Reynaud, Intergraf Policy Advisor.