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Regional Court of Mönchengladbach's decision on company's climate neutral claims regarding jams

Jurisdiction: Regional Court of Mönchengladbach

Side A: The Centre for Protection against Unfair Competition (Ngo)

Side B: Anonymous Party (Corporation)

Core objectives: Whether advertising on climate-neutral jams is a misleading commercial practice 

This case concerned an advertising on jams which included the statements ‘climate neutral product’ and ‘climate neutral value-for-money-classic’. While it was undisputed between the parties that the production process of the jams itself was not CO2 neutral, but that the defendant financially supported reforestation projects in South America, the plaintiff nevertheless considered the advertising statement as misleading. They argued that the target consumer group would understand the statement insofar as the production process itself was climate neutral and that the same applied to the readership of the newspaper where the advertisement was published. 

The Regional Court of Mönchengladbach held that an average end consumer would not understand the defendant’s claims to mean that the CO2 produced during the manufacturing process was offset by subsequent measures and that climate neutrality was achieved in balance. While it could be assumed that a normally informed consumer knew of the concept of climate neutrality through compensation, the average consumer would relate the statement to the specific product and the manufacturing process and not to offsetting. This was especially the case because in the situation of selling jam jars, the focus was on quick messages and quick decisions. The same applied to the advertising in the newspaper. Thus, the Court found the advertising statements to be misleading pursuant to § 5 para. 1 of the Act against Unfair Competition.

Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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