Information obligations for advertising with the term "climate neutral"
A confectionery manufacturer had printed on its product packaging since 2021 xxx produces all products climate neutral” and the certificate “climate neutral product ClimatePartner.com”. The plaintiff was of the opinion that this advertising was misleading, as consumers understand the information as an indication of an emission-free manufacturing process.
The claim was dismissed as the court was of the opinion that the term “climate neutral” is not necessarily understood in the sense of an emission-free manufacturing process, but in the sense of a balanced carbon footprint.. If a company takes measures to avoid CO2 or (also) carries out offsetting measures, advertising with “climate neutral” can be considered.
Climate neutral with certificates
However, consumers do not assume that the company achieves climate neutrality solely by purchasing emissions certificates or through third-party offsetting measures. From the consumer’s point of view, companies that do not implement effective measures to reduce emissions themselves are suspected of “greenwashing”. Consumers must therefore be informed about the exact way in which climate neutrality is achieved.
The additional information must be provided in the advert itself or in the immediate vicinity of the advert; a statement “Climate neutrality is also achieved through offsetting”, combined with a QR code or an easily accessible website on the product, may be sufficient to provide the required information. The information provided must be easily accessible and understandable.
At the point
This judgment clarifies the advertiser’s duty to inform consumers. Anyone advertising with the term “climate neutral” must explain why the product is labeled as “climate neutral”, either due to their own savings measures or (only) through offsetting. Jurisdiction regarding the “climate neutral” is not finalized. It is still unclear whether advertising with “climate neutral” is permissible if the company does not make any own efforts to reduce its CO2 emissions.