New climate and resilience law in France

Regulators have already sued companies making false environmental claims for millions of dollars. Now France is next in putting a law that prevents greenwashing: The French climate and resilience law, going into effect in 2023.

Sustainability is becoming more and more important to customers and is influencing buying decisions. On average, more than one-third (34 percent) of the population is willing to pay more for sustainable products or services, and those willing to pay more would accept a 25 percent premium on average. (The Global Sustainability Study 2021, Simon-Kucher & Partners) Next to being a motive for companies to invest in sustainability, it also, unfortunately, promotes greenwashing. In states like the U.S., Great Britain, Norway, and the Netherlands, regulators have already sued companies making false environmental claims for millions of dollars. Now France is next in putting a law that prevents greenwashing: The French climate and resilience law, going into effect in 2023.  

 

What does the French climate and resilience law contain? 

The French climate and resilience law does, of course, not only contain greenwashing but covers all areas of (French) life. It contains laws that aim to encourage insulated housing, less polluted cities, increased train usage instead of flying, vegetarian menus, less packaging, less concrete, support of renewable energy, jurisdictional support for the environment, supervised advertisement, and better-informed citizens. Because the laws about supervised advertisements and informed citizens are the ones that influence manufacturing companies the most, we will cover them in more detail below.  

 

Net Zero claims need to contain evidence 

One of the most used claims by companies is the one of carbon neutrality or “Net Zero.” After the French law, this now has to be proven for companies to be able to advertise with it. To prove carbon neutrality, companies need to provide a GHG emissions report integrating the direct and indirect emissions of their products or services, meaning they will need to include Scope 3 emissions. Furthermore, they must provide the process by which the GHG emissions of their products or services are either avoided, reduced, or offset and a plan for GHG emissions reduction; the methods for offsetting residual GHG emissions need to comply with minimum standards. The emission data must be provided annually and cover the product’s entire life cycle, from production to disposal or recycling. 

This means that companies will only be able to claim a product is sustainable if they disclose the impact of the entire life of the product, from raw material to end of life. Evidence will need to be collected from suppliers at every stage of a product’s life, including from the companies that provide recycling and remanufacturing services at the end of it. 

 

Environmental labels for products 

But even for companies that don’t want to make use of sustainability claims in their advertisements or on their packaging, the new law means a lot more emission reporting. The new French climate and resilience law also makes environmental labeling mandatory for several categories of products. The label needs to contain information on the environmental impact of the product and the compliance with social criteria across the product’s entire lifecycle.  

While at this stage, clothing and footwear are obliged to follow the law, the current phase is considered a test phase to be rolled out for all product categories.  

 

Environmental impacts in advertisement 

As companies will have to label the environmental impact for customers, they will also need to include this information in advertisements. With the French climate and resilience law, it will be mandatory to indicate the climate impact of products in advertisements. Same as above, this law doesn’t come into place for all companies at once. The automotive and household appliances sectors are the ones that need to comply from 2023 with other product categories following.  

 

What does the French climate and resilience law mean for my company? 

The French climate and resilience law is only one example of environmental regulations and laws coming into action all over the world. Europe’s Product Environmental Footprint (PEF), the ISSB recommendations, Germany’s new supply chain law, and the SEC regulation are only some examples of climate laws worldwide. There’s one thing they all have in common: They oblige companies to look at their product’s whole lifecycle. Reporting and improving Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions that happen inside of your own company is not enough anymore. Scope 3 emissions in manufacturing companies make up to 80% of overall emissions. It’s about time that reporting on these emissions becomes mandatory. In the case of the French climate and resilience law, non-compliance comes at a great cost and even prison sentences. 

If you want to find out how Makersite can help you provide the information requested by the climate and resilience law, automate full Scope 3 reporting and run LCA of your products at scale in order to properly report on their carbon footprint, book a demo with us.

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