Media Sustainability Claims and Greenwashing

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"Sustainable", "100% recycled", "carbon neutral" or "biodegradable" – sustainability plays a major role in advertising. The lack of uniform standards and clear regulations makes it difficult for companies to ensure legal compliance when advertising the environmental benefits of their products. But the legal landscape is evolving. Following the EU Green Deal's request that companies should substantiate "green claims" against a standard methodology, the EU Commission has initiated an initiative on substantiating green claims. In parallel, the framework on the national level is moving forward. To name a few examples, France has recently adopted a “Circular economy law” and a “"Climate and resilience law", including provisions on how to communicate and promote "sustainability", prohibiting the use of claims such as "environmentally friendly”. The UK Competition and Markets Authority has just published new guidance on green claims, and signaled a step up of enforcement activity. And in Germany, consumer associations are increasingly bringing legal action against sustainability advertising, with court decisions to follow.

The session will look at the EU initiative, outline current standards and highlight some of the most recent legal developments and watch-outs on the national level.

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