A new EU proposal for a regulation came to light on July 2023, titled ‘Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accounting of greenhouse gas emissions of transport services’, and it aims to lay down rules on the accounting of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by any transportation service provider – without distinguishing between freight or passenger’s services – whose origin or destination is on EU territory.
This regulation is in connection with the Green Claims Directive, and it establishes a methodology for substantiating green claims related to transportation service – such as claiming that "this flight’s emissions are 15% lower than ..." – making it a flagship instrument to combat greenwashing.
After the adoption of the regulation, there will be two main obligations when it comes to the measurement of emissions and thus, the substantiation of green claims in relation to transportation:
- The calculation of the emissions shall be made based on the methodology defined in EN ISO 14083:2023 standard.
- The use of primary data shall be prioritized, which shall be understood as the quantified value of a process, or an activity obtained from a direct measurement or of a calculation based on direct measurements. The use of secondary data (e.g. estimates or representative data) shall be only allowed in extremely limited circumstances.
The output data, which comes from following the calculation methodology and means mentioned above, shall be disclosed clearly and unambiguously, including a statement that it is a well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions calculated in accordance with this regulation, at least in one of the official languages of the EU, and where possible, in an official language of a Member State on the territory of which the service is performed.
The reliability, credibility, adherence, and accuracy of the data disclosed will be subject to verification by an accredited independent conformity assessment body. Particularly, the verification will address the calculation methodology used, the sources of the input data used for the calculation, the correctness of the calculation performed, and the metrics applied. However, it shall be noted that the verification requirements will be optional for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.
Although the proposal does not explicitly regulate the sanctions applicable in case of non-compliance, it can be expected that sanctions provided in the Green Claims Directive may be applied. As this regulation sets out the specific methodological rules to substantiate explicit environmental claims on well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions of transport services, non-compliance may result in non-compliance with the Green Claims Directive.
The proposal is currently in an early legislative stage, and there will be a 42 months transitional period until it becomes fully applicable after its publication and entry into force. However, it still shows that the European Union aims to strengthen the legislative background that combats greenwashing. Thus, it is crucial for companies to set an appropriate ESG strategy to ensure compliance, as well as to improve their services, standing out from the market and creating value from which society can also benefit.