Relevant legislation or guidelines 

German Act Against Unfair Competition (UWG). In particular:

  • § 5, which prohibits actively misleading consumers and other market participants.
  • § 5a, which prohibits misleading consumers and other market participants by omitting information.
  • § 6, which sets rules for comparative advertising.

Is there any upcoming relevant legislation or guidelines?


Who are the responsible authorities or bodies?

There are no responsible authorities/bodies in Germany other than the legislator.

What are the enforcement measures?

  • Any unlawful green advertising results in potential cease and desist claims, claims for information, damages (which are in practice very rare) and cost reimbursement for sending a warning letter or for proceedings.
  • Any infringement is likely to be pursued by an initial warning letter, followed by either an ex partes or inter partes preliminary injunction or a lawsuit.

Who can pursue infringements?

  • All competition watch dogs (such as the Wettbewerbszentralen).
  • All competitors.
  • Certain associations (these are usually associations in which all or many companies of a certain business area are a member).
  • Chambers of industry and commerce or craft chambers.

What are the general rules of thumb for green claims?

  • Green claims shall not be misleading.
  • Whether or not a claim is misleading is assessed based on the subjective perception of the public to which the act of communication is addressed.
  • Therefore, a claim can objectively be true, but subjectively misleading and therefore unlawful.

Do green claims need to be substantiated by evidence?

Green claims should generally be substantiated by factual and truthful information. If, however, an advertising claim or word is ambiguous, they must be substantiated by factual and truthful information.