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Deutsche Umwelthilfe v. Shell Deutschland GmbH

Jurisdiction: Regional Court of Hamburg

Side A: Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Ngo)

Side B: Shell Deutschland GmbH (Corporation)

Core objectives: Whether advertising statements on "CO2-neutral" motor oils are in breach of German competition law

In 2022, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) filed legal action against Shell Deutschland GmbH due to various advertising statements concerning "CO-2 neutral motor oils" . The statements also included the information that CO2 emissions were offset, whereby motorists could offset the CO2 emissions produced on average by their car journey for 1.1 cents per litre of Shell petrol or diesel fuel filled up. The 1.1 cents per litre went to climate protection projects supported by Shell after the deduction of sales tax.

DUH argued that these advertising claims were in breach of the German Act Against Unfair Competition. First, DUH criticised the advertising statements as lacking sufficient information on the product or website as to why this product or service had such environmental benefit. Second, DUH pointed out that Shell Deutschland GmbH provided no information about its own measures to reduce carbon emissions. Third, DUH argued that the compensation through the purchase of carbon credits for forest protection projects in Cordillera Azul (Peru) and in Katingan (Indonesia) were insufficient. 

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.

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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