30 June 2023

The Seven Deadly Sins of Greenwashing

Kopenhagen greenwashing COSH De Vreese Kevin
“Terms such as ecological, organic, and environmentally friendly were used frequently and without substantiation.” Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM)
Greenwashing E Uflag COSH
“These legislative and regulatory changes towards more control and coercion can only encourage fashion brands to put in place effective means to measure and reduce their impact as part of their CSR approach,” Glynnis Makoundou, Lawyer in Fashion Law
"Greenwashing... above all harms the companies that are seriously committed to environmental protection and invest accordingly for this purpose. In other words, greenwashing harms environmental protection in both cases, whether discovered or concealed. It also distorts competition: customers opt for supposedly more environmentally friendly products and thus unintentionally harm those competitor manufacturers who do not operate on the market with misleading or insubstantial advertising." Barbara Scheben, Partner, Head of Forensic, and Head of Data Protection at KPMG.
“In order to provide consumers with reliable information about the actual environmental benefits of a product or service, (the Green Claims) draft Directive aims to limit the proliferation of eco-labels and similar labels. There are currently more than 200 of these - with very large differences in requirements and controls, which can lead to confusion and mistrust. In the future, such labels are to be developed primarily at the EU level.” Barbara Scheben, Partner, Head of Forensic, and Head of Data Protection at KPMG
“While the initiative to provide more guidance on environmental claims and greenwashing must be applauded, the formulation of the new Guidelines is disappointing. For instance, the Regulator provides in the Guidelines that “vague and ambiguous terms should not be used if they are not defined in the advertisement”. However, in practice, many advertisements are vague and ambiguous and make statements that lack any clear definition. At present, the law stipulates that such statements are lawful as long as they do not mislead consumers. Advertisements are seen as communications which may create impressions and feelings in a consumer – but they are not treated as binding contracts based on strict legal definitions." Tom Heremans, Brussels Partner of CMS
Greenwashing crossroads COSH
Sophia Schwan team picture COSH


Journalist and Senior Copywriter German & English

202030 Summit Key Visual 07 2024

202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit Edition #8: RE/GENERATE IMPACT