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Auf Tomate klebt der Sticker "Carbon Neutral Product"

Credit: AdobeStock - HollyHarry


Consumers are increasingly inundated with green advertising claims: “recyclable packaging”, “produced in a bee-friendly manner”, “climate neutral production” or “from responsible sources” – these are just some of the numerous claims adorning an increasing number of food products, electrical devices, textile products and even services. These green claims appear in the form of both direct claims with a clear promotional purpose and, increasingly, as labels.

Consumers cannot identify what is behind the claims. Is the company communicating a real commitment to a more sustainable and climate-friendly production method? Or is it simply exploiting the fact that sustainability-related green claims are hardly regulated at present and – unlike health-related advertising claims, for example – can be used without providing evidence of the claims’ accuracy?

The lack of regulation in terms of sustainability and green claims opens the door for greenwashing. vzbv thus calls for stricter regulations for green claims.

vzbv demands

  • Binding, legally defined criteria to substantiate green claims
  • Regulation of the conditions under which green claims are permissible
  • A ban on advertising that claims “climate neutrality”
  • Verification of green claims and labels by independent third parties
Portrait Jochen Geilenkirchen

Source: Gert Baumbach - vzbv

Jochen Geilenkirchen
Policy Officer Sustainable Consumption

A consumer landscape in which almost all products are advertised as having green features makes it impossible for consumers to differentiate between sustainable and non-sustainable products.



No claims without proof | Opinion of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations | July 2023

Opinion of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and the Council on substantiation and communication of explicit environmental claims | July 2023

PDF | 225.04 KB

Grüne Marketingclaims auf Lebensmitteln / Green advertising claims on food products | Studie im Auftrag des vzbv | Februar 2023

Verbraucherstudie zum Verständnis von umwelt- und klimabezogenen Werbeaussagen | Ergebnisbericht | Studie im Auftrag des Projekts Lebensmittelklarheit | Februar 2023

PDF | 14.61 MB
22-11-03_vzbv position_climate neutral claims

The fairy tale of climate neutral products

Position of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv) on advertising with climate neutrality | November 2022

PDF | 266.81 KB

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