Brussels: Firms that boast about their environmental credentials will soon need to have their claims independently verified, the European Commission announced on Wednesday.
The proposal comes after a study found that more than half of such claims made in the European Union were "vague, misleading or unfounded."
What are the planned rules?
The plan to prevent "greenwashing" requires companies to respect minimum norms by fully substantiating claims about environment-friendly products and services.
The commission gave examples of the type of claims it means, such as: "T-shirt made of recycled plastic bottles," "packaging made of 30% recycled plastic," or "ocean-friendly sunscreen."
Before companies communicate any of the covered types of "green claims" to consumers, the assertions will need to be "independently verified and proven with scientific evidence."
The EU executive said it was also aiming to tackle the proliferation of labels by limiting labeling systems.
"There are currently at least 230 different labels and there is evidence that this leads to consumer confusion and distrust," the commission said.
Consumers' right to repair
At the same time, the commission also proposed a right to repair for customers, to help reduce the 35 million metric tonnes of waste generated from products being discarded rather than repaired in the EU.
Manufacturers of products like vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and televisions would be obliged to offer repairs during and beyond the warranty period.
Sellers would be required to offer repairs to products within warranty except when it is more expensive than a replacement.
After the warranty period, a new set of rights and tools are to be made available to consumers to make "repair" an easy and accessible option.
"The proposal will make it easier and more cost-effective for consumers to repair as opposed to replace goods," said a statement from the commission.
"Additionally, more demand will translate into a boost to the repair sector while incentivizing producers and sellers to develop more sustainable business models," it added.