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South Korea

Solutions for Our Climate v. SK Lubricants Co.

Jurisdiction: Korea Fair Trade Commission

Side A: Solutions for Our Climate (Ngo)

Side B: SK Lubricants (Corporation)

Core objectives: Whether SK Lubricant's carbon offsetting campaign is misleading 

The contested advertising involves the marketing of the defendant's lubricants as achieving "zero carbon emissions" through carbon offsets of allegedly high quality. The campaign also suggests that consumers can help reduce carbon emissions through using the defendant's products.

The plaintiff challenged that these green claims were false and that the offsets purchased by the defendant, which were certified by Verra and relate to the Guanaré reforestation project in Uruguay, did not fulfil the additionality requirement, a key principle within voluntary carbon markets. Furthermore, the plaintiff advanced that the company had not bought sufficient carbon credits in order to satisfy the equivalence requirement, another key principle. The defendant stated that the Guanaré project will absorb a total of 7.8 million tons of greenhouse gases in their marketing materials. However, according to the plaintiff, SK Lubricants has only bought carbon credits equivalent to 115 tons of CO2 equivalent issued from the reforestation project.  

The plaintiff's claims are brought under the following basis. These regulations prohibit false, exaggerated or deceptive advertising that may undermine fair trade by deceiving or misleading consumers. 
1. Article 3 and 17 of the Act on Fair Labeling and Advertising 
2. Article 3 of the Enforcement Decree of the Act on Fair Labeling and Advertising (Presidential Decree)
3. Public notice by the Fair Trade Commission, which requires that environment-related labeling and advertising is based on accurate, up-to-date, objective scientific evidence. 

Consumers Korea took similar legal action against SK Lubricants via the Korea Fair Trade Commission.

Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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