At its today’s siting, the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) was given an overview of the planned Green Claims Directive initiative that aims to increase the reliability of environmental claims and labels of products.
Chair of the European Union Affairs Committee Liisa Pakosta said that the Committee had gotten a good overview of the amendments proposed with the initiative and the positions of the Estonian stakeholders, and the ministries were presented with several questions to think about. “Today, there are hundreds of ecolabels used in the world and lots of products about which it is misleadingly claimed that it is, for example, biodegradable, environmentally safe or produced with green energy. Nobody checks if such green claims are correct. The aim of the initiative that green labels should be understandable and reliable is very welcome,” Pakosta said. She underlined that the transition period should be sufficiently long to ensure that no packaging that had already been produced would go to waste.
Deputy Chair of the Committee Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski pointed out that if the intention of the initiative was to ensure that a certain label could be used on a product produced in a verifiably CO2-neutral way or using 100 per cent renewable energy, it was important to think carefully about how the environmental impact of electric cars and electrical equipment would be assessed. She emphasised that it was necessary to take into account that CO2 emissions were not the only thing that affected the environment.
It was highlighted at the sitting that the Green Claims Directive covered all products and services on the European Union market and its objective was to improve the clarity and reliability in regard to green labelling. According to the initiative, the companies that wish to present an environmental claim on their product or service have to verify it through a third party. In Estonia, this competent authority will be either the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority or the Environmental Board.
Chief Specialist of the Environmental Management Department Kristi Loit and Chief Specialist of Foreign Relations Eliise Merila from the Ministry of Climate, Consumer Protection Adviser at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Mari-Liis Aas, Policy Adviser to MEP Andrus Ansip Stinne Vaga and Environmental Adviser at the Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU Jörgen Talkop attended the sitting and gave an overview of the initiative.
The stakeholders were represented by CEO of the Estonian Traders’ Association Nele Peil, Head of Food Policy at the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce Meeli Lindsaar, Legal Adviser of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ireen Tarto, Head of the Estonian Food Industry Association Sirje Potisepp and expert of circular economy Üllar Huik, who outlined their positions.