“Globalizing”, “unjustified”, “ambiguous” or even “contrary to legal provisions” environmental mentions… Bercy’s service points to the many allegations likely to mislead the consumer.
“Environmentally friendly”, “zero waste”, “eco-responsible”… These mentions have flourished on many products in recent years. The first investigation carried out by the Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF) on the subject, made public on Thursday, shows however that they are frequently misleading, proving to be simple “greenwashing“. Of the 1,100 establishments checked between 2021 and 2022, one in four was “in anomaly“, points out the service of the Ministry of the Economy.
The DGCCRF specifies that it has focused on environmental claims on non-food products (cosmetics, textiles, furniture, toys, food packaging, etc.) and certain services, such as hotels and laundry. She reports having controlledall types of media (packaging, label, website, social networks, catalog, showcase, in-store advertising, etc.)“.
THE “anomalies» marked are «very varied“, she says. The most frequently encountered is that of allegations “globalizingi.e. does not return ‘no particular environmental impactbut suggestingrather an overall benefit for the environment“, according to the general direction of Competition, Consumption and the Repression of the frauds. For example “eco-friendly», «ecological” Or “environmentally friendly“. The DGCCRF takes the example of “the presentation as “eco-responsible” of wooden tableware imported from Asia“.
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Misuse of the mentions “100%” or “zero”
Some of the “green” claims encountered have also turned out to be “not justified“, points the direction, which evokes more precisely “rewarding mentions without justification (local origin of their products, contribution to a particular cause or reduction of waste), in order to stand out from their competitors“. She cites in particular the example of a jar of honey “with the mention “for each jar sold, a donation is donated to the ociation (X) which fights to save bees” while only one donation was made by the company in 2016“.
Other mentions noted were they “imprecise or ambiguous“. For example “a garden hose with the mention “recycled PVC” without specifying the actual quantity of recycled material incorporated into the product when it is mandatory“. It also notes the sometimes abusive use of statements such as “100%” or “zero”For example “raw materials that respect 100% nature” or “zero waste”. Some controlled entries were even “contrary to legal provisions“, finally underlines the DGCCRF. “For example, it was found that the mention “products that are even more respectful of the planet” and various green logos on chemical products while European and national regulations prohibit this type of mention for these products“, she says.
Result of the races: 141 warnings, 114 injunctions and 18 criminal or administrative reports were drawn up by the DGCCRF against the establishments in anomaly. According to the organization, this investigation made it possible to remove the references concerned. “Following these checks, the professionals, in a very large majority, proceeded to restore compliance by modifying or deleting the misleading claims. Similarly, claims that cannot be substantiated have very often been withdrawn by professionals.“, specifies the administration, saying to strengthen its controls this year against greenwashing.