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Europe to penalise car companies for 'green-washing'

The European Union is proposing new laws that would make it illegal - and expensive - for car-makers who make false claims about the environmental credentials of their vehicles. Car companies in Europe could soon face harsh penalties if they downplay the environmental harm - or exaggerate the benefits - of the technology in their vehicles.

A leaked proposal obtained by news website Euractiv has revealed the European Union wants to discourage car-makers from a practice known as 'greenwashing' - the name for a marketing exercise designed to exaggerate the environmental credentials of a product. In the draft, the European Commission - the politically-independent executive arm of the European Union - alleges approximately 40 per cent of environmental claims made about products are unsubstantiated.

"Consumers lack reliable information about the sustainability of products and face misleading commercial practices like greenwashing or the lack of transparency and credibility of environmental labels," the proposal reads. It recommends implementing "Dissuasive" penalties on companies making the false environmental claims.

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