25. September 2023

When is a product sustainable?

Today, every product must be sustainable. Even the bin liner. But the question is: When is it permissible to call a product sustainable?

In its judgement (Ref.: 2 U 103/22), the OLG Bremen had to decide on the use of the advertising terms “sustainable”, “resource-friendly” and “short delivery routes”.

One type of tea was advertised as “sustainable”, here the court saw an increased need for clarification. It drew parallels to health advertising, where very strict standards are applied. The increasingly environmentally conscious consumer could not see what exactly the sustainability of the tea was. In most cases, products are only sustainable in certain areas and not overall. Here, the consumer would have to be informed more precisely, otherwise it would be misleading, as in this case.

The advertising with “resource-friendly” is to be judged similarly. Here, it was just as unrecognisable why the product was resource-friendly and exactly which resources were being conserved.

The emphasis on “short delivery routes” does not apply to all ingredients. Although the peppermint came from Germany, the nana mint came from North Africa. The tea was described as “short delivery routes” and “medley of German peppermint and nana mint”. The court also considered this to be misleading to the consumer.

Thus, all three terms were not allowed to be used because they were misleading.

The advertising of products is a sensitive issue. As a manufacturer or operator of an online shop, you should check every advertising statement carefully and, if in doubt, better leave it out.
And I, as a tea drinker, have become smarter again after this verdict, as I now also know the nana-mint.


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