Swedish Court forbids “net-zero” claims based on climate compensation

Green claims and key legislation

As consumers become increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their purchasing, “green claims”, meaning claims suggesting certain environmental characteristics, are increasingly being used in advertising. The Swedish Marketing Act contains measures to uphold good practices in advertising. Such practices mean that advertising must be factual, truthful, and not misleading to the consumer. This is also applicable to the use of green claims in advertising.

The case: Net-zero climate footprint claim

In 2019, a Swedish dairy producer introduced a clearly visible green claim on the front and back of some of their product packaging for dairy. The green claim stated:

“NET-ZERO CLIMATE FOOTPRINT” (Swe: Netto noll klimatavtryck).

The green claim was accompanied with an explanation on the side of the packaging stating that these dairy products were climate compensated. Climate compensation is a method whereby one company buys “credits” from another company that reduces carbon from the atmosphere (such as planting trees) to offset carbon being released into the atmosphere (such as producing/transporting dairy). The credits that the dairy producer bought ensured that the products with the green claim packaging would be fully climate compensated in 100 years.

Guidance from the Swedish Market Court

The Swedish Market Court found that the green claim on the product was misleading for several reasons.

  • “Net” was written in a small print while “zero climate footprint” was…

Full article available on Disputes +

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