News from Brussels, Strasbourg and Berlin

Image Source: Unsplash | Guillaume Périgois

Even around 100 days before the European elections on 6-9 June 2024, the regulatory wheels in Brussels, Strasbourg and Berlin have not come to a standstill – quite the opposite. Some things have recently been passed, others are on the home straight and some are at risk of being shelved. We bring you the latest information on the PPWR, CSRD and Green Claim. We also take a more detailed look at the third amendment to the German Packaging Act.


PPWR Update

Trilogue negotiations on the “Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation” (PPWR) have been underway since January. The co-legislators of the European Union (EU), the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, paved the way for this on the 22nd November and 18th December 2023 respectively by approving their final positions on the EU Commission’s proposed text.

The timetable until adoption

  • The EU Council’s general approach and the European Parliament’s final report will serve as mandates for the interinstitutional negotiations.
  • The Belgian EU Council Presidency, which began on the 1st of January, will lead the negotiations.
  • The first technical trilogue took place on the 10th of January. Eight further technical meetings followed until the 31st of January. The first political trilogue was held on the 6th of February.
  • Following the first political trilogue, the Council and Parliament want to reach a political agreement on the 4th and 5th of March 2024 and have therefore scheduled a “very long” trilogue meeting.
  • As a result, some further technical negotiations may be necessary. However, it remains the case that the law is to be adopted in the corrigendum procedure before the end of this legislative period.
    • The corrigendum procedure is a type of emergency procedure. The Council and Parliament have time to reach a political agreement by the week of the session (from the 11th to 14th of March 2024). Unlike the regular process, only the English-language version of the legislative text will be used. This saves time during translation and final editing by the language lawyers in both chambers. This increases the chance that the EU Parliament will approve the final text before the end of this legislative period (which ends on the 25th of April).
  • Once finalised, the Regulation will enter into force in all 27 Member States following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

As a reminder, the new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) aims to clarify and harmonise packaging regulations across the EU, while proposing more ambitious targets to improve the sustainability of packaging and reduce packaging waste.


CSRD Update

Now that the first general reporting standards have been published, various guidelines are also being developed (and some have already been published) to describe the exact approach to CSRD reporting.

The publication of the sectoral standards has been postponed for the time being from summer 2024 to summer 2026. However, the first public consultations for various sectors will start before then.

  • You can view the complete process here.
  • If you would like to participate in the development of sectoral standards, you can register here.

You are also welcome to read our overview article on CSRD and start your preparations. Q1 2026 is the day after tomorrow!


Green Claim Update

The “Green Claim Package” comprises two different EU laws that regulate the use and communication of green claims.

  • In the “Directive on Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition”, certain claims such as “climate-neutral product” are prohibited.
  • The “Green Claim Directive” defines what a product or company must prove in order to be able to use a green claim.

Directive on Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition (ECGT)

The directive was finally adopted by the EU Parliament on the 14th of January 2024. You can find the text here.

  • The directive will now be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Member states will then have two years to incorporate the new law into their national legislation.
  • This will ban a number of “greenwashing” tactics from July 2026. These include climate-neutral claims, which are among the most misleading green claims on the market.
  • Other vague green specifications are also restricted:
    • Manufacturers may only label a product as “eco” or “green” if the entire product is genuinely more environmentally friendly than conventional products and has been certified by a trustworthy system such as the EU Ecolabel.
    • Furthermore, it will no longer be possible to advertise a product or company as “green” if only a small aspect of the product or company has been made more sustainable.
  • Sustainability seals will also be subject to stricter supervision. The credibility and reliability of the seals used must be guaranteed by third-party verification.

Why is this law necessary? Currently, 75 per cent of products on the EU market carry an implicit or explicit green claim. More than half of these claims are vague, misleading, or unsubstantiated. At the same time, almost half of the 230 eco-labels available in the EU have very weak or no verification procedures.

Green Claim Directive GCD

The Green Claims Directive is intended to define which environmental claims are permitted and how they are to be validated. This law is currently in the second stage of the EU legislative process. You can find the EU Commission’s draft text here.

  • On the 14th of February 2024, two committees of the European Parliament voted on and adopted the Parliament’s proposal on the Green Claims Directive (Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) and Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO). You can find the press release of the EU Parliament here).
  • The legislative process has thus taken another important step. The centrepiece of the parliamentary proposal is a process for companies to offset their “unavoidable emissions”, i.e. the residual emissions that remain after all technically and economically feasible savings have been reduced, with carbon credits.
  • Parliament’s plenary will vote on the GCD on the 11th of March 2024‍.
  • All eyes will then be on the European Council, which is expected to present its position by the 17th of June 2024. Once the new EU Parliament has been constituted, the trialogue can then begin.
  • Above all, the Council’s position on the issue of residual emissions is still unclear. The question of how many emissions can be labelled as “unavoidable” by companies corresponds directly to the question of how much investment in reduction technology companies can be expected to make.

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    Jenny Walther-Thoß