Italian Competition Authority Ruling Eni's Diesel+ Advertising Campaign
Side A: Italian Competition Authority (Government)
Side B: Eni (Corporation)
Whether Eni’s Diesel+ advertising campaign constituted an unfair commercial practice by misrepresenting the “green” benefits of its Diesel+ fuel.
On December 20th, 2019, the Italian Competition Authority fined Eni, an Italian oil and gas company, five million euros, the maximum monetary penalty, for “unfair commercial practices regarding environmental claims”. According to media reports, the Authority has determined that ‘green’ claims contained in advertising messages must:
i) precisely and unambiguously reflect the environmental benefits of the relevant products;
ii) be scientifically verifiable; and
iii) be communicated correctly.”
In Eni’s Diesel+ advertising campaign, a product logo associated the words “green" and “Eni Diesel+”. The Authority found this association had induced consumers to attribute the “green” claims made by Eni in the advertising campaign to the fuel as a whole, when it only applied to a component of the product. As such, media reports state that the Authority ruled that Eni’s Diesel+ advertising campaign disseminated “false and omissive information” regarding the fuel’s environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and constitute an "unfair commercial practice” in violation of articles 21 and 22 of the Italian Consumer Code.
Eni is planning on appealing the Authority’s ruling before the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio.
Full case documents will be added as they become available.