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The European Union will ban companies from falsely using “climate neutral” and environmentally friendly labels in their products, as part of an effort to crack down on “greenwashing” while boosting consumer protection, Euractiv reported.

The draft law was proposed last year by the European Commission following complaints from consumers about greenwashing – described as the practice of making misleading claims as to a product’s climate friendliness.

The proposed bill will make it illegal for firms to use climate-friendly terms, such as “eco” and “carbon neutral,” unless they provide solid evidence of their product’s sustainability.

The legislation will take effect in 2026 and EU nations will be given two years to adopt changes.

Environmental advocates welcomed the proposal, saying the EU is delivering “a powerful signal to the voluntary carbon market: the era of offsetting is over.”

The bill is part of a broader EU effort to overhaul the bloc’s economy to reach net zero emissions by 2050, the Financial Times noted. Even so, efforts to combat greenwashing coincide with political resistance to climate legislation around the bloc.

The European Commission aims to finalize its Green Deal climate law before EU-wide elections in June 2024.

However, some officials suggest that various proposals, such as rules on animal welfare and regulations for greener food systems, may be diluted or postponed following concerns by some politicians about the burden on the agricultural industry.

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