Green growth, green foods, and greenwashing – exploring the EU regulation on green claims in ultra-processed foods and its implication for planetary health equity.

This research examines the debate surrounding greenwashing in ultra-processed foods (UPFs) in the context of growing European Union markets for sustainable and environmentally friendly aliments. It investigates the drivers for greenwashing across a spectrum of corporate entities invested in producing, distributing, and promoting UPFs.

By applying a theoretical instrument based on the “3-Is” framework (ideas, interests, and institutions), paired with a mixed-methods design, the research brings forth both strengths and weaknesses in the current regulatory regimes around green foods in the European Union, and justifies not only why greenwashing occurs, but what innovative pivots can target and mitigate it. This way, it builds upon a portfolio of corporate sustainability practices in foods, contributing to the existing literature by identifying two major challenges both UPFs producers and European Union regulators face when manufacturing and overseeing green foods.

First, there are no harmonized regulatory regimes to tackle greenwashing, and second; the mechanisms that do exist are by default corrective and focused on consumer protection (rather than producer and corporate social responsibility). Thus, they fail to integrate the economic, nutritional, and environmental dimensions needed to embed appropriate responses. As a mere taxonomy of greenwashing practices is insufficient to combat the phenomenon, the research demonstrates the need for concrete reforms within the current EU regulatory apparatus to redress the fallouts in the green communication of UPFs and combat the deception, “from seed to supper”.

This seminar is Roxana's Confirmation of Candidature milestone presentation. As such, the presentation is a closed event for RegNet staff, visitors and students only.

About the speaker

Passionate about green growth, digitalization, and communication, Roxana Claudia Tompea is an ARC Laureate and PhD student at the Planetary Health Equity Hothouse within the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University. Her research examines the regulatory regimes around greenwashing in the European Union food sectors (ultra-processed foods). By taking an interdisciplinary approach, she investigates the effectiveness and contribution of current regulations to food equity, climate change, and the governance of health. Roxana is also a communication and knowledge management specialist on circular economy within the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. Her research builds on her experience in the European Union and its Eastern Neighbourhood, further exploring the commercial determinants of food equity.

COVID protocols

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This seminar presentation is a dual-delivery event. Registration is only required for Zoom attendance; registration for in-person attendance is not required as neither the ANU nor ACT Health conduct contact tracing any longer.

If you require accessibility accommodations or a visitor Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan please email

Image credit: Graphic illustrating greenwashing of products by HollyHarry from Adobe Stock used under Education License.





RegNet Level 2 Teaching Room (2.10), Coombs Extension Building, 8 Fellows Road ANU