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19 May 2022, 12:05
Sören Amelang

NGO takes legal action against companies’ “fake” climate neutrality claims

Clean Energy Wire

A German NGO specialising in environmental litigation has launched legal action against Nivea maker Beiersdorf, oil majors BP, Shell, TotalEnergies and other companies for allegedly “misleading” consumers regarding their climate neutral products. The companies’ claims constitute “fake climate protection” that conceal continued emissions and use incomprehensible compensation mechanisms, Environmental Action Germany (DUH) said. “The advertising promise of climate neutrality is often consumer deception,” the NGO’s managing director, Jürgen Resch, said. He added that emission compensation payments resembled a “sale of indulgences” to greenwash entire companies or their products but without real climate effect. “We will not put up with this insanity any longer and file lawsuits against violations, if necessary,” Resch said. His NGO also asked drug store chains dm and Rossmann, aviation company Green Airlines and sustainable products start-up The Mother Nature to refrain from making certain advertising claims and said it will make the fight against misleading “climate neutral” claims a new focus of its market monitoring activities.

The number of companies claiming climate neutrality for themselves and their products is growing rapidly, but so is scepticism about these claims. “In fact, the companies either completely or partially conceal how they provide the alleged CO2 compensation, or they refer to compensation projects that usually receive only a small amount of money. There are hardly any emission savings,” DUH said. “Verifiable information on payments, projects and actual climate impact is either not available or not comprehensible for consumers.” The NGO said genuine climate protection is only possible if consumers receive honest information about the climate impact of individual products or services.

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