France officially bans corporate greenwashing in 2023

Greenwashing is the act of claiming a product to be carbon neutral when its production and manufacture may be anything but

France officially bans corporate greenwashing in 2023

FRANCE has passed a bill to ban companies from greenwashing the public. The move means that to claim carbon neutrality, no greenhouse emissions must be produced in the production, manufacture or recharging of the product.

The move will be a tricky one for automotive manufacturers to get around, given that vast amounts of earth’s resources are needed to create just one electric car battery. Not only are those rare earth minerals not a finite resource, you can bet your bottom dollar that the excavator digging them out of the earth is a diesel burning behemoth that does gallons to the mile.

It’s this down-the-line pollution that will fall foul of the French government's ruling, and with the legislation covering the power supply used for recharging (which still for most Euopeans comes from burning fossil fuels) it’s going to be very tricky to claim total carbon neutrality.

There are some ways around the ruling though, with carbon off-setting likely being one of the tools used by the automotive industry. In this way, if one EV produces, let’s say, one tonne of carbon during its manufacture, all the maker needs to do is provide evidence that it has off-set this amount of carbon by way of recapture schemes or other such methods. While that does in a roundabout part of the ruling, it’ll be trickier to claim carbon neutrality for the life of the vehicle (from recharging for instance) if the maker of the vehicle doesn’t know whether the customer uses a green energy supplier or not.

What is greenwashing?

Greenwashing is a popular marketing technique that became more common as governments pushed us to become more environmentally aware. It is the act of using inspiring imagery of wind farms and solar power arrays in a power companies advertising campaigns, when perhaps only a tiny percentage of its over production comes from a renewable source.