EarthCheck welcomes the EU Green Claims Directive

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As the world’s leading certification, consulting and advisory group for sustainable destinations and tourism organisations, EarthCheck welcomes the recent passage of the EU Green Claims Directive, and the broader implications it has for global consumer protection.
As the world’s leading certification, consulting and advisory group for sustainable destinations and tourism organisations, EarthCheck welcomes the recent passage of the EU Green Claims Directive, and the broader implications it has for global consumer protection.

By Stewart Moore, EarthCheck Founder and CEO

Introduced by the European Commission, the Green Claims Directive aims to standardise the substantiation, communication and verification of green claims, and harmonise the regulatory landscape across EU Member states. 

It follows a 2020 Commission study which found that 53.3 per cent of the 150 environmental claims examined were vague, misleading or unfounded, and 40 per cent were unsubstantiated. 

The same study also identified over 230 “green” labels within the EU with significantly different levels of transparency, supervision and robustness. 

In March 2024, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Commission’s proposed Green Claims Directive, which states that environmental claims may only be made if they meet minimum criteria and are independently verified by a third-party assessment body.

Under the Directive, terms such as ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘natural’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘climate neutral’ and ‘eco’ can no longer be used without evidence. 

Similarly, environmental claims relating to future performance must include a time-bound commitment for the improvements – i.e. ‘Our business will produce 50% of its own energy by December 2026’, not ‘Our business will produce 50% of its own energy’. 

The Directive takes a holistic approach, branding environmental claims misleading if they don’t make clear when an environmental benefit leads to other negative environmental impacts.  

At EarthCheck, we welcome the EU Directive, because it aligns perfectly with our longstanding commitment to provide credible and leading-edge scientific reporting and environmental stewardship. 

This is more than a regulatory change – it’s a significant step towards the kind of transparency and accountability we have championed and built EarthCheck-branded certification programs on over the past 35 years. 

Consistent with this change in the regulatory landscape, EarthCheck is moving beyond the recognition of criteria-setting associations such as the GSTC and proactively seeking international accreditation, which will allow our company to be recognised by the European Accreditation Forum. EarthCheck is now in the endorsement stage of this process.

This move is not just about compliance. It’s about ensuring that the values and scientific principles that underpin EarthCheck’s programs, and have guided us for over three decades, continue to resonate as the market evolves. 

The Green Claims Directive promises greater protection for consumers from misleading environmental claims, fostering an environment where genuine efforts towards sustainability are recognised and rewarded. 

This not only benefits consumers, who gain access to reliable, verifiable information, but also supports businesses to differentiate themselves in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace.

The Green Claims Directive represents a significant development in the regulatory landscape, and EarthCheck is taking action to represent our customers and support them through this transition.

Most recently, EarthCheck has created public resources, such as our Storytelling Guides for Destinations and Hospitality and Tourism Operators, to support organisations to be transparent and honest in communicating their continuous improvement on their sustainability journey. 

At a time when travellers are increasingly looking for genuine sustainability commitments from the places they visit, it’s more important than ever to celebrate your sustainability achievements – and to certify them.

Learn more about how EarthCheck can help you do what’s Good for Business and Good for the Planet here. 


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