Major Pork Producer Admits To Breaking Marketing Law With ‘Climate Controlled’ Label

Europe's biggest pork producer Danish Crown just admitted to violating marketing law and greenwashing with its "climate-friendly" label


3 Minutes Read

Photo shows someone holding up a packet of pork in front of a supermarket shelf stocked with the same Europe's biggest pork producer just admitted to breaking the law - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

Danish Crown, one of the largest pork producers in Europe, just admitted that its claims of “climate-controlled” meat violated national marketing law.

Read more: Switzerland’s Inaction On Climate Crisis Breaches Human Rights, Says Landmark Court Case

Last month, Denmark’s Western High Court ruled that the company misled consumers by using the phrase “climate controlled” on its packaging. It specifically noted that the labels came from Danish Crown itself rather than an independent body.

The case was brought by two NGOs, the Vegetarian Society of Denmark and the Climate Movement Association, which claimed that Danish Crown’s accompanying ad campaign also qualified as greenwashing because of the phrase “more climate-friendly than you think.”

At the time, the court found that this second claim was backed up well enough to use legally. It cited data on Danish consumers incorrectly believing that pork emitted the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) as beef, which has a considerably larger impact.

However, Danish Crown has now released a statement acknowledging that both the label and the marketing slogan were used misleadingly. “Danish Crown accepts that, when we used the aforementioned statements, we did not comply with the requirements of the marketing law, and also accepts a ban on using these statements in any marketing going forward,” the company said.

Read more: Academics Call Out FAO For Leaving Meat Reduction From Food Emissions Plan

Danish Crown admits using greenwashing

Photo shows several pigs standing very close together pushed up against metal bars, as in a factory farm
Adobe Stock Pork farming might be more sustainable than beef, but it has a huge impact on the environment – and the animals themselves

In a statement, Rune-Christoffer Dragsdahl, the general secretary of the Vegetarian Society of Denmark, welcomed Danish Crown’s statement as a “great victory.”

“Pork production is incredibly climate-damaging,” said Dragsdahl. “Not least because of the massive deforestation taking place to feed millions of pigs with soy. Instead, we should reduce meat production, plant more trees, and re-establish forests to buy us valuable time to halt the dramatic climate changes we are all facing.”

As noted by the Western High Court, pork does emit fewer emissions than beef, and more than chicken. However, all three animal proteins emit considerably more than equivalent plant-based foods. Furthermore, environmental factors such as pig lagoons mean that intensive pork production has other enormous, far-reaching negative effects on the planet.

The court has ordered Danish Crown to pay some of the legal costs incurred by the case, around €40,000 (just under USD $42,700).

Read more: EU Making Animal Diets ‘Artificially Cheap’ With Subsidies, Report Finds

The Danish government is currently debating whether to levy additional CO2 taxes on animal farming due to its high emissions, something that Danish Crown has opposed.

In the US, New York State is in the process of suing JBS – the single largest meat processing enterprise in the world – for greenwashing claims about its business practices.

JBS says it aims to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2040, but simultaneously plans to increase its meat production, which critics believe are two mutually exclusive goals.

The Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy (IATP) estimates that JBS reached 421.6 million metric tons of GHGs in 2021. (According to the EPA’s equivalencies calculator, that’s the equivalent emissions of approximately 47,372,566,670 gallons of gasoline.)

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