Press release: 24 January 2023

EU anti-greenwashing law currently "missing the mark" on carbon offsetting – ClientEarth

Members of the ENVI Committee in the European Parliament have today rejected a crucial amendment on carbon offsetting in the ‘Empowering Consumers in the Green Transition’ draft directive. The amendment would have clarified the law by introducing a ban on carbon offsetting claims.

Johnny White, lawyer at ClientEarth, said: “While it’s great to see an anti-greenwashing directive taking shape at EU level, it’s missing the mark so far. The current draft excludes a ban on the marketing fiction that is carbon offsetting.

“Greenhouse gas emissions can’t be neutralised with carbon credits alone. Carbon credits are donations towards climate-friendly projects - pretending they can ‘offset’ the climate impacts of the high-carbon items and services companies sell us is confusing and misleading to consumers and small businesses alike.

“This marketing fiction can make the highest-carbon products seem 'green’. It’s an existential threat to the green transition and it must not be given regulatory credibility in the anti-greenwashing directive.”


Notes to editors:

A recent investigation revealed that more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by the world’s biggest carbon credit provider are “phantom credits”.

Read ClientEarth’s briefing on the legal risks of carbon offsetting.

About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.