Stek victorious for Eneco in appeal against Advertising Code Committee decision on sustainability claim

Stek has successfully represented energy supplier Eneco in an appeal procedure before the Board of Appeal (BoA) against a decision of the Advertising Code Committee (ACC). In contrast to the ACC, the BoA ruled that Eneco is allowed to advertise the electricity it supplies generated by Dutch wind and solar parks as being “100% green” and with “0% CO2 emissions”.

The procedure related to an advertisement on Eneco’s website, where it promotes its product ‘Eneco HollandseWind & Zon®’ with the statement that the supplied electricity is “100% green” and with “0% CO2 emissions.” E4all filed a complaint with the ACC about this advertisement. According to E4all, the electricity sold by Eneco with this product could not have been generated without CO2 emissions. In the contested decision, the ACC rejected the complaint of E4all with regard to the claim “100 % green”, but upheld it with regard to the claim “0% CO2 emissions”.

Eneco lodged an appeal against the ACC’s ruling that the claim “0% CO2 emissions” was in violation of article 2 of the Environmental Advertising Code. By decision of May 3 2023, the BoA upheld Eneco’s appeal and overturned the decision of the ACC insofar as it deemed the claim “0% CO2 emissions” to be contrary to article 2 of the Environmental Advertising Code. The BoA ruled that Eneco has sufficiently demonstrated that for the quantity of electricity supplied, Eneco possesses an equal number of Guarantees of Origin for electricity generated by Dutch wind and solar farms. According to the BoA, this justifies Eneco labeling the electricity it supplies under this product as being “green”, as the ACC also ruled in the contested decision. In the opinion of the BoA, this entails that Eneco may use the claim “0% CO2 emissions” with respect to this electricity, provided that it is clear that this claim refers to the generation itself. In this regard, the BoA rules that the connection between the claim and the generation of electricity is sufficiently clear from the advertisement and its context, so that the average consumer will understand that the claim “0% CO2 emissions” refers to the generation of electricity and not (also) to other (potentially non-CO2-free) stages of the energy chain.

The decision of the BoA dated 3 May 2023 can be read here (in Dutch).

https://www.reclamecode.nl/uitspraken/energie/nutsvoorzieningen-2022-00499-cvb/411162/

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