Preventing greenwashing in the Circular Economy: the role of consumer legislation and ISO standards

Presenters: Eléonore Maitre-Ekern (UiO) and Sigurd Sagen Vildåsen (NTNU)

The lunch seminar will be held through Zoom and is open for all. If you would like to participate, please contact Beate Sjåfjell to get the Zoom link. 

About the topic

The transition towards a Circular Economy (CE) brings about a number of challenges, in particular regarding the meaning of ‘circularity’ and overall contribution to the sustainability agenda. This has led to the profusion of green claims that are both confusing consumers and impeding sustainable businesses from leading the way. In this seminar, postdoctoral researcher Eléonore Maitre-Ekern and senior researcher Sigurd Sagen Vildåsen will present ideas and open the discussion on how to address greenwashing in the CE from the perspective, respectively, of European consumer legislation and of international standardization.

Following the adoption of the new Circular Economy Action Plan in March 2020, the EU Commission is working on developing a legislative proposal on empowering consumers in the green transition. The main issues at stake relate to the need of ensuring that consumers receive reliable and useful information, of preventing greenwashing and obsolescence practices, and of developing EU wide minimum criteria on transparency and reliability of labels. Eléonore will discuss the role of consumers in the CE and the development of consumer legislation to shape sustainable consumption, and present reform proposals developed in the SMART project.

According to the scientific literature, there exists more than 100 different definitions of the CE. Similarly, the societal debate on the CE reflects diverse actors’ views and specific interests, which creates tensions and ambiguity. Interestingly, ISO aims to clarify the debate through standardised CE terminology and guidelines on implementation (https://www.iso.org/committee/7203984.html). This could notably contribute to increasing the transparency and reliability of green claims. The work of ISO began in 2019 and is currently organized in four working groups. Sigurd will share experiences and reflections based on the process so far and discuss Standards Norway’s position on the way forward towards an international standard.

 

Published Oct. 2, 2020 10:07 AM - Last modified Oct. 21, 2020 10:18 AM