Greenwashing to Genuine: How the EU is Transforming Green Claims and reshaping OTA Practices


In an era of heightened environmental consciousness, businesses increasingly seek to showcase their commitment to sustainability. However, this surge in green marketing has also led to the proliferation of misleading environmental claims, known as “greenwashing.” To address this, the European Union (EU) introduced the Green Claims Directive, which ensures transparency, accuracy, and accountability in green marketing. A recent notable impact of this directive is seen in’s adjustment of its green leaf certification following an EU challenge. This blog explores the EU Green Claims Directive, its significance, and how it has influenced’s practices.

The EU Green Claims Directive: An Overview

The EU Green Claims Directive, part of the European Green Deal, aims to combat greenwashing by standardising the communication of environmental claims by businesses. Announced in March 2021, the directive mandates that all environmental claims must be:

  1. Clear and Unambiguous: Easily understood by consumers without room for misinterpretation.
  2. Substantiated by Evidence: Supported by verifiable data and scientific evidence.
  3. Transparent: Information about the methodology and criteria used must be accessible to consumers.
  4. Comparative: Comparisons must be clear and relevant when comparing products or services.

This directive protects consumers from misleading claims and incentivises businesses to adopt genuine sustainable practices, fostering a more transparent and accountable green economy in the EU.’s Green Leaf Certification: A Case Study, a leading digital travel platform, recently modified its green leaf certification, believed to be a response to the EU Green Claims Directive. The certification initially aimed to highlight eco-friendly accommodations but faced criticism for lacking rigorous verification and transparency.

The Challenge and Response

The EU challenge highlighted that many properties with the green leaf certification did not meet stringent environmental standards, leading to accusations of greenwashing. In response, has implemented several measures:

  1. Enhanced Verification: Properties must now provide detailed evidence of their sustainable practices, including third-party certifications and adherence to specific environmental criteria.
  2. Increased Transparency: The platform now clearly outlines the standards and criteria for awarding the green leaf certification, with detailed information accessible to consumers.
  3. Continuous Monitoring: Ongoing monitoring ensures that certified properties maintain their sustainable practices, including periodic reviews and the potential revocation of certification if standards are not upheld.

Implications of the EU Digital Markets Act on

In addition to the Green Claims Directive, has also been designated as a “gatekeeper” under the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). This designation subjects the company to stricter regulatory standards to ensure fair competition and greater consumer choice. As a gatekeeper, must comply with stringent obligations, including content moderation and transparency in its business practices

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This gatekeeper status further underscores the EU’s commitment to regulating major tech platforms to prevent monopolistic practices and promote a level playing field for smaller enterprises.


The EU Green Claims Directive and the Digital Markets Act represent significant steps towards promoting transparency and accountability in green marketing and digital competition.’s recent changes to its green leaf certification illustrate the directive’s impact, ensuring more credible and reliable green claims. As businesses across the EU adapt to these new requirements, consumers can look forward to a marketplace where eco-friendly choices are easier to identify and trust.

In this evolving landscape, businesses and consumers alike play crucial roles in supporting and advancing sustainability. By prioritising genuine environmental practices and holding each other accountable, we can collectively contribute to a greener, more sustainable future.