In the legal dispute over advertising using the term “climate neutral”, the Frankfurt Competition Center sees itself strengthened in its lawsuit against the fruit gum manufacturer Katjes after the hearing at the Federal Court of Justice (BGH).

Managing director Reiner Münker explained in Karlsruhe that, based on the Senate’s preliminary assessment, he assumed that it wanted to stick to the current strict requirements for environmental and climate statements in advertising. He is therefore leaving the negotiation with a good feeling. It initially remained unclear when a verdict would be announced in the proceedings.

The competition center had filed a lawsuit against Katjes because the company had advertised in a food trade magazine that all of the company’s products were produced in a climate-neutral manner. The competition center believes that this is misleading. The manufacturing process itself is not emission-free, but the company supports climate protection projects to compensate and provides information about them online.

Competition headquarters: Katjes advertising is misleading

According to the competition center, important information would be withheld from the consumer – for example about how climate neutrality is achieved. This information should appear in the advertising itself. The lawsuit was unsuccessful in the lower courts.

Before the first civil senate of the BGH, the question was, among other things, whether advertising was aimed at a specialist audience and whether these circles could be expected to have a higher level of knowledge on the subject of climate neutrality.

The lawyer on Katjes’s side argued that the term “climate neutral” has concrete content, in contrast to other advertising statements about the sustainability of a product. The term is understood as a balanced CO₂ balance – which can be achieved through avoidance, but also through compensation. At the beginning of the hearing, the presiding judge emphasized that stricter rules apply to environmental advertising.