Many consumers let themselves be influenced by advertising with statements such as “climate-neutral” or “CO2-positive” when making purchasing decisions. This is the result of a survey by the Yougov institute on behalf of the Dutch Changing Markets Foundation together with the consumer organization Foodwatch, which was available to the AFP news agency on Tuesday. In this context, Foodwatch criticized so-called greenwashing with misleading descriptions.

According to the survey, 35 percent of consumers prefer products that are labeled as “climate-neutral” when shopping, and 36 percent prefer “climate-positive” products. Many are also willing to spend more money on it than on comparable goods.

43 percent of those surveyed expect companies that advertise products as “climate-neutral” or “CO2-positive” to actually reduce their greenhouse gas emissions themselves. In fact, however, they often only bought credits from partly questionable compensation projects, Foodwatch warned. The organization spoke of a “modern sale of indulgences”.

“More and more consumers want to shop more sustainably – and are therefore turning to products with climate seals,” explained Manuel Wiemann from Foodwatch. “But the industry is misleading people when it advertises climate-damaging foods such as milk and meat as ‘climate-neutral’,” he criticized.

Foodwatch demands clear regulation of sustainability promises and a ban on misleading climate labels. Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) should work for this at EU level. This would “not only help the climate, but also those companies that want to protect it seriously and without deception,” argued Wiemann.

According to Foodwatch, around ten percent of food is now advertised with a climate label. The organization has already successfully tackled misleading advertising in several cases.