BlogLeena Kivioja 07.03.2024

Marketer – prepare for new greenwashing directives

Expertise growth Marketing communications Strategic consulting Responsible marketing

The use of environmental symbols, such as green tree leaves and hands holding the earth, will be monitored more closely in marketing in the future. As well as claims about the naturalness, responsibility and durability of products. Leena Kivioja, Sustainability Director at Dagmar, summed up the obligations and opportunities that the new EU directives, which increase consumer influence, will bring to marketers.

The EU’s recent Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition Directive prohibits general and vague marketing that creates a more environmentally friendly image of a product or service. Without proof, environmental symbols or general environmental claims such as ‘ecological’, ‘natural’ or ‘eco-friendly’ may not be used in the future. The directive also aims to highlight the sustainability and social impact of goods more strongly. A new label is on the way to help consumers better identify products with longer warranty periods.

Another directive that has a strong impact on companies’ operations and marketing is the Green Claims Directive, which complements the above-mentioned Green Transition Consumer Protection Directive. It is expected to receive approval in autumn 2024. Instead of general claims, the directive would apply to explicit environmental claims (e.g. “20% of a product’s material is recycled”) and it outlines how environmental claims on products and services sold to consumers should be verified and presented. The aim is to ensure that explicit marketing claims related to the environment are clear, truthful and verifiable so that consumers can make sustainable choices. In the future, all environmental claims must be based on scientific evidence and prior third-party verification.

These are not entirely new rules, because even today misleading marketing is regulated by the general regulation of marketing.

In the future, all environmental claims must be based on scientific evidence and prior third-party verification.

In the future, all environmental claims must be based on scientific evidence and prior third-party verification.

Transparency throughout the process

New EU regulations are an opportunity for companies to review and improve their environmental performance. It is a good idea to start developing processes for managing environmental claims now. Before scientifically verifiable claims can be made, you need to know exactly the entire value chain and life cycle of a product or service.

Companies that are willing to invest in sustainability and transparent communication can be expected to gain a competitive advantage in the long run. Customer confidence in the services and products offered by companies will be strengthened, and at the same time the transition of society as a whole towards a sustainable future will be promoted.

What should you do now?

  1. Openness
    • Communicate honestly and clearly about environmental impacts and sustainability challenges and goals.
    • Increase transparency in environmental responsibility measures and processes.
  2. Science-based environmental claims
    • Make sure that all environmental claims are based on scientific evidence and verified by a third party.
    • Work closely with stakeholders to ensure verifiability.
  3. Get your processes in order
    • Critically review current marketing practices and their compatibility with future legislation.
    • Update internal processes, guidelines and train staff according to new requirements.

Do you need sparring in developing marketing responsibility? We´re here to help!


Leena Kivioja

Director, Sustainability and Lead Strategist