EDA welcomes EC green claims validation but has concerns

The long-awaited legislative proposal on green claims suggests common criteria for the substantiation of environmental claims in Europe.

“We welcome the initiative aimed at regulating how voluntary environmental claims must be validated, but we regret to see that the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) is not incentivised as the main substantiation method,” the association remarks. “The green claims initiative should foster harmonisation across the EU internal market and we believe that the PEF methodology and its sector-specific rules, which have been approved by EU Commission and member states as the reference rules for environmental footprint assessment in many sectors, including dairy, would be the best tool to ensure harmonisation in Europe.

“Moreover, if a variety of methodologies would be lawfully available to operators to validate their environmental claims, as the proposal seems to allow, this would strongly undermine the objective of halting confusing and misleading green claims in sectors that have committed to developing category rule based on PEF (PEFCR), and ultimately can lead to a less sustainable economy,” it suggests. Such concerns have been highlighted in a joint industry letter to the European Commission, co-signed by EDA together with other sectorial associations that have developed PEFCR in the last years.

EDA is also calling for comparison to be restricted within the same category of products, or within one product and the benchmark (as allowed by the PEFCR method), not between products from different categories. “In the case of food, we believe that a method such as PEF should be used to show consumers the most environmentally friendly food item on the shelf, not the most environmentally friendly food item in the supermarket. We call the European Institutions to better clarify the rules on comparison during the co-decision process,” the association notes.

The Dairy Product Environmental Footprint (Dairy PEF) has been driven by the European Dairy Association (EDA) as a major project to better identify the most relevant environmental impacts of different dairy products in examining a broad array of environmental criteria. It covers the full life cycle (cradle to grave) for dairy products. It is the result of a global industry effort and has received recognition by the European Commission, EU member states and a wider array of stakeholders as the reference methodology for environmental footprint assessment in the dairy sector. The Dairy PEF aims to provide a harmonised approach for measuring environmental performances of products and should be used as an improvement tool for the performance of the overall sector. It attests the European dairy sector’s

continuous effort for improving not only its economic performance, but also its long-term sustainability. EDA supports the use of the PEF methodology and its sector-specific application (PEFCR) for validating claims on the environmental performance of products in the EU.

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