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Case detail



Directive article Article 6 1. (b)
National ID PS7235
Country Italy Decision date 08/02/2012
Common name "FERRARELLE - IMPATTO ZERO" Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Rome) Plaintiff(s)
Court translation Italian Competition Authority Defendant(s) Ferrarelle S.p.A.
Subject environmental claim
Keywords environmental marketingmisleading advertisingmisleading commercial practicesmisleading statements

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Headnote

It is a misleading commercial practice to state that the producing and selling of a product has zero impact on the environment, while in fact it can be established that the trader has not taken any steps to reduce such impact.

Facts

Following a complaint lodged by a competitor active in the industry of mineral waters, the Italian Competition Authority decided to launch an investigation on 21 April 2011 against the defendant in order to ascertain whether the environmental claims contained in the promotional materials of the defendant, in this case the mentioning of the notion "Impatto zero" ("Zero Impact") which refers to the absence of any impact on the environment by producing and selling the product concerned, were consistent with a lower environmental impact of the company's production activity.

Legal issue

Is it a misleading commercial practice to state that the producing and selling of a product has zero impact on the environment, while in fact it can be established that the trader has not taken any steps to reduce such impact?

Decision

The Italian Competition Authority stated that the commercial communication and advertisements circulated by defendant, using the wording "Zero Impact", constituted "environmental claims" or "green claims", since they suggested  that the company's bottles of water were environment friendly (i.e. had no impact on the environment).
However, the defendant used the "Zero Impact" notion in a misleading way, the court held, thus creating the wrong impression that its products were less damaging to the environment than competing goods. In particular, as it emerged from the Authority's investigations, the defendant was not actively involved in specific activities reducing the impact of its products on the environment (e.g. decreasing CO2 production), but it simply participated in a project promoted by a third party providing for economic contribution to compensate environmental damages.
Based on the above considerations, the Italian Competition Authority concluded that the "Zero Impact" campaign constituted an unfair commercial practice, capable of influencing consumers' transactional decisions.
 

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
IT http://www.agcm.it/consumatore/consumatore-delibere/open/C12560D000291394/2B66AD5274E26730C12579B2003AE458.html

Result

The Italian Competition Authority decided to fine the defendant with 30.000 Euro.

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