Ensuring reliable sustainability claims for EU consumers: an open letter to the European Commission

There is a strong need for a regulatory approach that ensures the substantiation of sustainability claims, but it’s key that this legal framework allows for product component and whole-of-product claims.

As an organisation that has been working on the subject of credible and effective sustainability standards for the last 20 years, ISEAL strongly believes that claims in the marketplace should be clear, relevant, and substantiated. We support more stringent regulation to ensure this, enabling consumers to make sustainable purchasing decisions.

ISEAL convenes organisations that are using market-based approaches like voluntary sustainability standards to drive positive sustainability impacts. The ISEAL Codes of Good Practice are a globally recognised framework defining credible and effective practices for sustainability standards and certification schemes. Some of the best known and widely used ISEAL Code Compliant organisations include Fairtrade International, Forest Stewardship Council, Rainforest Alliance, and Marine Stewardship Council.

We have seen a worrying trend in the development of the Green Claims Directive whereby claims substantiation could be restricted to a narrow set of methods related to lifecycle analysis (LCA) and product environmental footprints (PEF), despite these methods not necessarily reflecting all the types of information that matter to consumers. Similar restrictions have also been introduced during the deliberations on related legislative initiatives, i.e., the empowering consumers directive and sustainable product regulation. In this context, we want to make it very clear that if LCA or PEF methodologies are the only allowed approach to substantiating claims, it will effectively ban some of the most established and widely trusted sustainability labels from the EU marketplace.

We are calling for a legal framework that allows for product component claims as well as product life cycle claims, requiring substantiation methods for both types of claims. This framework needs to be informed by adequate stakeholder consultation.

Read the full letter Ensuring reliable sustainability claims for EU consumers: an open letter | ISEAL Alliance