Environmental awareness sells well. Many companies take advantage of this in their product advertising. Often wrongly, says the German Environmental Aid. The DUH is now taking concrete action against eight manufacturers.

The German Environmental Aid (DUH) wants to take legal action against advertising promises by companies that describe certain products as “climate neutral”.

The environmental and consumer protection association initially asked several companies to refrain from certain advertising statements. At a press conference on Wednesday, the DUH named eight companies, including the particularly well-known drugstore chains dm and Rossmann as well as Beiersdorf and Shell Germany, against which it initiated legal proceedings. The DUH criticized the fact that the alleged compensation effects of projects and advertising promises were sometimes incomprehensible.

According to DUH Federal Managing Director Jürgen Resch, the advertising promise of climate neutrality is often consumer deception. «Often it is more of a CO2 indulgence trade that companies use to wash themselves green. This is how money is taken out of people’s pockets, but the climate is not protected,” he said. Anyone who advertises environmental and climate protection must also prove this, said DUH lawyer Remo Klinger. But anyone who leaves consumers in the dark about how the supposed climate neutrality comes about is deceiving them.

No deception

In view of the allegations, a company spokeswoman for Rossmann emphasized that the consumer was not misled and, in particular, that the climate-neutral products were incorrectly advertised and had never existed. “Nevertheless, we take the DUH’s criticism seriously and are currently examining further optimization of communication. We consider it important that Deutsche Umwelthilfe always checks environmental advertising.»

A spokeswoman for Beiersdorf said the company deliberately decided against the term “climate neutral”. Instead, the word “climate neutralized” is used at the product level. This underscores to consumers that the affected products have a remaining carbon footprint that is offset by the company’s commitment.

At the request of the German Press Agency, the companies dm and Shell Germany initially did not comment on the allegations.