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Fighting false claims about green credentials in France

Learn why some firms regularly exaggerate their green credentials

Some firms may exaggerate their green credentials Pic: Black Salmon / Shutterstock

About a quarter of companies assessed over the last two years in the fight against ‘greenwashing’ – the practice of giving a false impression of making a positive environmental impact – showed “anomalies”, according to a survey by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF).

The survey of 1,100 establishments producing or selling non-food related products and services was conducted in 2021 and 2022 by the services of the Ministry of Economy. “To put an end to the greenwashing commercial practices of the products or services controlled, the investigators have thus issued 141 warnings, 114 injunctions and 18 criminal or administrative proceedings,” said a statement.  

It added that “a very large proportion of the claims” made “did not refer to a particular environmental impact, but rather suggested a global benefit for the environment, citing examples of claims such as ‘environmentally friendly’ or ‘eco-responsible’. 

Furthermore, the investigation found that some firms regularly exaggerate their green credentials, in order to distinguish themselves from competitors – it cites the example of a false claim on a jar of honey, on which was written “for each jar sold, a donation is made to [an] association that fights for the protection of bees”. 

In reality, the DGCCRF found that only one donation had been made by the company – in 2016.

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