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Awarding Best Sustainable Product of the Year 2023-2024

Published: 20-12-2023

This year, Miranda Haak of 4ESG Consulting had the honor of announcing the winners of the Best Sustainable Product of the Year 2023-2024. The lucky winners are Lidl's "Don't Waste Me" fruit and vegetable bag and Undiemeister Mellowood Undergarments. As many as 64 other products were also awarded by consumers. The election, organized by Q&A Insights and Consumer Contest Company, took place for the tenth time and received more than 70,000 ratings on 228 products.

Commitment to Fair Sustainability Claims

Miranda was pleased to present the award once again for Best Sustainable Product. During the award ceremony, she stressed the importance of honest sustainability claims. Retailers must avoid misleading and vague claims about the sustainability of products. Companies must be honest and concrete about their sustainability efforts, and these claims must be backed up with factual information.

Stricter Oversight of Sustainability Claims

Both regulators and consumers are placing increasing demands on companies when it comes to sustainability. Companies must be more transparent about their sustainability performance and make honest claims. The Dutch Consumer & Market Authority (ACM) has published five rules of thumb to help companies formulate the right sustainability claims:

  • Make clear and specific what sustainability benefit the product has.
  • Substantiate sustainability claims with facts and keep them current.
  • Compare products or competitors fairly.
  • Be honest and specific about your company's sustainability efforts.
  • Make sure visual claims and labels are helpful to consumers and not confusing.

Companies should be aware of what they are communicating about sustainability and may be challenged by the ACM if claims are misleading.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and Sustainability Reporting.

An important topic currently attracting attention is the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). The CSRD is a new European directive that requires large and listed companies to do comprehensive reporting on their sustainability performance. These reports cover various aspects such as environmental impact, social responsibility and governance issues. The goal is to paint a comprehensive picture of a company's sustainability efforts.

A company is large when it meets at least two of the following three characteristics:

  • At least 250 employees.
  • At least €40 million in sales.
  • At least €20 million on its balance sheet.

Large, listed companies must start using it from Jan. 1, 2024, and other companies will follow in the years thereafter, including listed SMEs.

Expansion of CSRD to medium and smaller businesses

Although the CSRD is aimed primarily at large companies, it will also have a considerable impact on SMEs. Partly because many medium-sized and smaller companies supply products or services to large companies that are more likely to report under the CSRD directive. These clients or customers will need information and data from their suppliers on their sustainability performance. So large companies will look more strictly at their suppliers and service providers. They have to, otherwise they cannot comply with the directive themselves.

This means that large companies as well as medium and small businesses will have to comply with CSRD requirements in the future. Although medium and small enterprises are exempt from the CSRD for now, other European measures and the chain effect of the obligation may cause them to have to take action on sustainability sooner. These companies should continue to monitor sustainability reporting developments and prepare for possible future obligations, such as understanding their carbon footprint.

Importance of CSRD

The CSRD has several important benefits. First, it helps increase transparency and accountability, allowing investors, customers and other stakeholders to make more informed decisions. Second, it encourages companies to improve their sustainability efforts and innovate on sustainability.

Role of 4ESG Consulting

4ESG Consulting is ready to support companies, both large and small, in meeting CSRD obligations. We offer services such as setting up sustainability reports, assessing a company's current sustainability practices, and advising on improvements. We also provide expertise and guidance in developing marketing statements related to sustainability and ensure that they comply with laws and regulations. We help companies communicate transparently and honestly about their sustainability efforts to meet consumer expectations and comply with regulatory requirements. Together, we can have a positive impact on the environment and society.