NETHERLANDS – LIBELOUS PALM OIL CLAIMS FOUND MISLEADING
Jan 29, 2020
The Dutch Advertising Body (Reclame Code Commissie) found statements suggesting that margarines made from palm oil would contribute to the destruction of rain forests to be misleading.
The Flower Farm, a producer of a margarine made from shea butter, made a number of explicit statements towards margarines that contain palm oil as an ingredient. The statements implied that margarines with palm oil would either destroy or lead to deforestation of rain forests and the extinction of orangutans. The body argued that the statements did not provide sufficient nuance and is biased considering the claims depict competitor products and therefore found that the statements were excessive and unfounded. This conclusion is partly based on the argument that palm oil containing margarines produced in the Netherlands all respect the RSPO-standard. According to the latter standard, the purchased palm oil may not lead/have lead to deforestation. Whether the certification scheme is efficient, the body did not further consider arguing it was not in the position to verify. The statements implied that there would not be such a thing as clean or sustainable palm oil. In addition, it upheld the argument that there are other factors different to palm oil production that contribute to deforestation and the threat of orangutans. Because the statements were prone to influence the purchasing decision of consumers, the claims were considered to be misleading and an act of unfair advertisement.
Finally, no issue was found with the statement that the product of The Flower Farm is palm oil free since that is a factual indication.
Reclame Code Commissie (2019/00648 - CVB), 17 December 2019 - link