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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

EU and Sustainability: Business


Sustainability in Businesses

As consumers become more aware of the negative impacts of climate change, many are making more social conscious decisions to buy more sustainable and eco-friendly products and services. Because of this, many businesses have made an effort to provide products that supports green consumerism.


Greenwashing is a term that describes the action of businesses misleading or using deceptive practices to seem more environmental conscious than they truly are. This can mislead customers into purchasing items or services that are not environmentally friendly. 


Did you know?

A commission study from the EU in 2020 found that 53.3% of the environmental claims from companies examined were vague, misleading or unfounded, and 40% were completely unsubstantiated


Corporate sustainability due diligence

On February 23, 2022, the EU adopted a proposal for a Directive to increase a company's due diligence on sustainability. The Directive highlights the need for corporations to include human rights and environmental considerations into their operations and corporate governance. 


Combatting Green Claims 

On March 22, 2023, the EU proposed a Directive on Green Claims in order to protect consumers from false claims and the environment. The proposal aims to:

  • Make green claims by corporations reliable and verifiable 
  • Protect consumers from Green Washing
  • Help Consumers make informed purchasing decisions based on factual data

Some key measures the proposal includes is:

  • clear criteria on how companies should prove their environmental claims and labels
  • requirements for these claims and labels to be checked by an independent and accredited verifier and
  • new rules on governance of environmental labelling schemes to ensure they are solid, transparent and reliable

How Green Are Your Finances?

It is important to know how your money is being used when you put it in a bank or invest it. The EU has compiled a list of resources consumers can use to know more about how their money is being used by banks and big corporations.


On January 5th, 2023 the EU put into force the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive which states that companies have to report on their social and environmental impact. This Directive will provide more transparency about the impact companies have on the environment and provide information to investors and other stakeholders on climate change and sustainability issues to be able to asses investment risk 

The CSRD also makes it mandatory for companies to have an audit of the sustainability information that they report. In addition, it provides for the digitalization of sustainability information.


EU Taxonomy

It is critical for the EU to invest in sustainable projects to meet the climate and energy targets by 2030 that are set out in the Green Deal. Investing in sustainable projects is important in order to make the economies, businesses, and societies more resilient against climate and environmental shocks. 

To have a universal definition on what sustainable is, the EU has created the EU Taxonomy which is a classification system with a list of environmentally sustainable economic activities. This system will help companies, policy makers, and investors distinguish economic activities that are environmentally sustainable. 

There are six environmental objectives in the Taxonomy Regulation:

  1. Climate change mitigation
  2. Climate change adaptation
  3. The sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources
  4. The transition to a circular economy
  5. Pollution prevention and control
  6. The protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems



Top 10 sustainable companies in Europe - Provides a lists the top 10 sustainable companies in Europe, based on the 2020 Corporate Knights Global 100 Index. The companies are recognized for their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance, as well as their commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility

Green Product Companies in Europe - Provides a lists companies in Europe that offer "green products" or products that are environmentally friendly. These companies offer a wide range of products and services, including renewable energy, sustainable transportation, green building materials, and eco-friendly consumer products.

The EU Green Deal – How will it impact my business? - This article highlights that the EU Green Deal will have significant implications for businesses in a range of sectors, including energy, agriculture, transport, and manufacturing

Green Driving Tool - The Green Driving project, which is a research initiative by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) to promote eco-friendly driving practices and reduce the environmental impact of transportation.