The EU no longer wants to hear about Apple Watches or other “carbon neutral” phones

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Apple will soon no longer be able to say that its new Watch is “carbon neutral”. After two long years of negotiations and administrative joy, the European directiveto give consumers the means to act in favor of the green transition” will more or less ban greenwashing marketing from September 2026.

Ambitious, this directive obviously does not specifically target Apple, it actually aims to fight against “misleading environmental claims“, in particular that based on the compensation of greenhouse gas emissions which are fond of large technological companies like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon Or Google.

Haro on greenwashing

Arguing that these marketing slogans give “the erroneous impression that the consumption of this product has no impact on the environment“, allegations of the type”climate neutral“, “certified CO2 neutral“, “positive carbon footprint” or “net zero for the climate“will therefore become illegal on the old continent. More generic allegations of this kind”eco-friendly“, “respectful of nature” Or “Green“will also be banned, as will those maintaining the vagueness about the degree of ecological implication of a product. For example, it will be forbidden to stick a label”made with recycled materials” ostentatiously in an advertisement if only the phone box is concerned.

In order not to appear too strict, the European Parliament and Council have nevertheless provided for an exception if these arguments “are based on the actual impacts on the life cycle of the product in question, and not on the offsetting of greenhouse gas emissions outside the product value chain, since these two elements are not equivalent.“In other words, if a company manages to prove via a life cycle analysis of its product that it really has a neutral impact on the climate then it will have the right to mobilize these arguments. Suffice to say that it is mission impossible, at least for the technology sector, which resorts to extracting, refining and assembling tons of metals and rare earths for the smallest of its connected gadgets. These activities cannot mechanically be carbon neutral.

No more question of promising the planting of 10 trees for each phone purchased in order to be “carbon neutral” and to clear one's conscience. The same goes for the logos of “sustainable development“which gives the impression that the product is part of an ecological approach. The displays”which are not based on a certification system or which have not been established by public authorities” will also be prohibited.

Programmed obsolecence also in the viewfinder

To drive the point home, the directive also attacks practices of early obsolescence (or “planned obsolescence”). already banned in French law since 2015. For example, it will be prohibited to deploy, without duly notifying the owner of a device, an update.may negatively impact the operation of any of the smartphone's features“. Here again, it is the shadow of Apple and “batterygate” that looms.

Claims about the repairability and durability of a product will also be more strictly regulated. Finally, the directive also attacks the printer market by prohibiting the incentive for early renewal by invoking possible technical failures when the cartridges present in the printer are not yet empty. Without going so far as to force manufacturers to authorize the use of third-party cartridges, the text will however prohibit manufacturers from claiming that this “will harm the functionality of a property when this is not the case“. New developments that follow the movement started by the Stop Planned Obsolescence association, who had also made the case of printers a symbolic hobby horse in its fight against the relentless renewal of consumables.

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