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| 1 minute read

Semi 'Climate Neutral' pork in the Marley Spoon box

So good that Marley Spoon includes pork in its meal box that meets the Climate Neutral certification label. The packaging shows the Climate Neutral logo and the text "contributes to global Carbon Neutrality”. Unfortunately, that's a banned environmental claim. Why? Consumers will think that the pork meat has been produced in a completely climate neutral manner. But the label's criteria are less far-reaching with pork: 'on its way to' climate neutral would be more appropriate.

Use of the word climate neutral is a legal challenge, as "neutral" is an absolute sustainability claim. This puts a heavy burden of proof on the advertiser: very often there is no real 'neutrality' in the sense that no CO2 is emitted at all. Then what about a label containing the term climate neutral? According to established case law (in Dutch) of the Board of Appeal, an advertiser may use the term climate neutral, as long as the advertisement makes clear that it concerns 'climate neutral in the sense of the Climate Neutral Certified certification mark'. I also mentioned this in a previous newsletter in the Arla organic dairy Climate Neutral case.

Marley Spoon does not get away with this. This is because Wakker Dier argues that - unlike dairy - pork under the Climate Neutral label does not require full offsetting of greenhouse gases. So in fact it is not about climate neutral, but rather a 'on the way to climate neutral' claim. The Board of Appeal (in Dutch) rules that consumers will think that the label guarantees true climate neutrality, and not an 'on the way to' neutrality. Marley Spoon should have done a better job explaining this on the packaging itself. It is not sufficient that a QR code on the packaging links to additional explanations on the website. Since Marley Spoon no longer uses the claims, no recommendation follows.

I hope that Marley Spoon continues distributing sustainable products in its meal box. But the wording listens closely. Just like the ingredients of a delicious recipe, for that matter.

Ebba Hoogenraad


food law, climate neutral