Dutch Watchdog To Probe Misleading Sustainability Claims

The Dutch Consumer and Market Authority (ACM) has begun an investigation into misleading claims of sustainability in the energy, dairy, and clothing sectors. 

The ACM has written to more than 170 companies to tell them to check sustainability claims in order to make sure they are providing accurate information to consumers. 

The regulator has the power to impose an order subject to penalty or fines of up to €900,000 (US$1.1 million) or, if higher, a percentage of a company’s turnover, if it finds that companies have misled consumers about the sustainability of their products. The ACM can also publish the names of companies not abiding by its rules.

Commercial law expert Sari van Grondelle of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said, “An increasing number of consumers consider sustainability an important factor when making choices about which products and services to buy. In response we are seeing more and more companies making all kinds of sustainability claims. 

“Companies must be aware that such claims, like any other advertising, may not be misleading towards consumers. For example, claims should be accurate and verifiable,” van Grondelle said.

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