Energy suppliers Greenchoice and Vattenfall will provide better information about sustainability to consumers

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has published the results of its investigation into sustainability claims in the energy sector. In response to the investigation, Greenchoice and Vattenfall have made commitments promising to adjust or no longer use sustainability claims on their websites. They have additionally committed to informing consumers more clearly in order to minimize the risk of misleading practices involving sustainability claims. In addition, they will make donations of 450,000 euros and 950,000 euros, respectively, to different sustainable causes to compensate for their use of unclear and insufficiently substantiated sustainability claims. Below, we will briefly explain the investigation into sustainability claims in the energy sector.

ACM’s investigation into sustainability claims

In January 2020, ACM published its Guidelines regarding sustainability claims. With these guidelines, ACM explains, using five rules of thumb, in what ways businesses can phrase their sustainability claims, bringing them in line with the rules and regulations.

ACM subsequently sent letters to all energy suppliers who supply energy to Dutch consumers, calling on them to review their sustainability claims and to see whether they comply with the rules and regulations regarding unfair commercial practices. These letters contain specific examples of misleading claims that had been discovered in a check conducted by ACM in the energy sector. In that context, ACM explained how those claims could be rephrased correctly. In the letters, ACM said that it would resume the investigation into misleading sustainability claims starting mid-June 2021.

ACM subsequently looked at the websites of ten energy suppliers. A follow-up investigation has been launched into two energy suppliers with the most claims that are possibly misleading. During the investigation, both Greenchoice and Vattenfall have filed a request for declaring a commitment. ACM has accepted both requests.

Read press release here