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Sustainability Labels in the Shadow of EU Fundamental Rights Law

European Union

May 11, 2022

The objective of this chapter was to explore to what extent the European Commission and the Member States could intervene with corporate communications on sustainability labels from the perspective of EU fundamental rights law, specifically the right to freedom of expression. A functional comparative method was used to analyse the objective. It was found that expression on sustainability labels should be considered primarily commercial in nature. In the USA some labelling regulations are considered inconsistent with the freedom of commercial expression. EU courts seem to uphold government restrictions to commercial expression in all cases, especially when restrictions are based on the protection of human health. It was concluded that food businesses should only be able to claim free speech rights on sustainability labels when it is of importance to the public or consumers.

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