As the climate crisis intensifies, the European institutions are working on updating existing directives to better protect consumers against unfair commercial practices and greenwashing. However, the current proposal “Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition” will not effectively end false claims.

We have teamed up with many other NGOs to call upon all EU policymakers to protect consumers and enable them to understand and embrace their role in Europe’s green transition. Action is urgently needed.

We continue to be alarmed by the rapid proliferation of misleading and false advertisements feeding consumers biased and incomplete information on the real climate and environmental impact of companies, products and services. Can a product ever be carbon positive? No! Is it ok to sell products that break early? No! We need better rules to stop greenwashing, early obsolescence and other unfair practices!

The current proposal still lacks a general prohibition of early obsolescence and practices preventing repair. This legislation must empower consumers to purchase the most sustainable products by banning the marketing of a product containing a feature (often a software feature) which foreseeably limits its lifetime.

Similarly, inducing consumers to replace consumables earlier than is technically necessary, or preventing consumers from using second-hand or non-original manufacturer consumables and spare parts, should be banned. Consumers should be provided with all information necessary to enable repair, for example on the availability of spare parts necessary for the repair of the product.

It should also be prohibited to not inform consumers about other practices preventing repair by end-users or independent repairers, such as if the seller will refuse to perform a repair on a product that has previously been repaired by the user or a professional or using software to prevent third-party repair.

Have a look at the rest of our asks in the open letter here