Deutsche Umwelthilfe v. BP Europa SE
Jurisdiction: Regional Court of Hamburg
Side A: Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Ngo)
Side B: BP Europa SE (Corporation)
Core objectives: Whether various advertising statements regarding "climate neutral products" and "climate neutral services" are in breach of German competition law
SummaryIn 2022, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) filed legal action against BP Europa SE due to various advertising statements concerning "climate neutral products" and "climate neutral services". More specifically, these statements concern:
- "certified carbon neutral product" (Castrol Magnatec motor oil, 5W-30 1l);
- Castrol PROFESSIONAL - a range of high-performance motor oils, as well as the world's first certified carbon neutral motor oil, according to BSI's PAS 2060 standard;
- Castrol Magnatec & Edge Biosynthetic - certified carbon neutral motor oils made with 25% sugarcane derived oil compound;
- Castrol Vecton - a range of certified carbon neutral lubricants specifically designed to meet the needs of the commercial vehicle industry; and
- Climate neutral car dealerships (certification is offered for all BP car dealerships).
DUH argued that these advertising claims were in breach of the German Act Against Unfair Competition. First, DUH criticised the advertising of motor oils as "carbon neutral" due to a lack of information on the products or the company's website to enable customers to obtain information as to why the product was supposedly carbon neutral. Second, DUH pointed out that information about the company's own efforts to cut down on CO2 emissions was missing. Third, DUH argued that the compensation through the purchase of carbon credits for a forest protection project in Zambia ("Lower Zambezi REDD+) was insufficient. DUH also argued that the advertising measure "climate neutral car dealerships" should be discontinued to to lack of interest.
This case is part of a series of DUH legal proceedings concerning climate neutrality advertising promises. An overview of the ongoing proceedings (as of 18 January 2018) is published here.
Documents will be uploaded when made available.