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Fossil Free Football and Reclame Fossielvrij v. FIFA

Jurisdiction: Reclame Code Commissie (Advertising Code Committee)

Side A: Fossil Free Football (Ngo)

Side B: Reclame Fossielvrij (Ngo)

Side C: FIFA (Ngo)

Core objectives: Whether FIFA's promotion of the 2022 World Cup "as carbon neutral" is misleading 

This case concerned FIFA's promotion of the 2022 World Cup as "carbon neutral" which the plaintiffs, Fossil Free Football and Reclame Fossielvrij, found to be misleading and in breach of articles 2 and 3 of the Environmental Advertising Code (MRC). 

Next to other social media content, the contested content mainly concerned two advertisings:

1. FIFA'S "Climate Pledge for the FWC" available on FIFA's website

The "Climate Pledge" targeted ticket holders, as they were invited by email to pledge for the climate. Ticket holders were informed that FIFA had offset a certain amount of CO2, those ticket holders who pledged were eligible to win a voucher. The climate pledge aimed at moving customers to reduce their personal carbon footprint. The relevant webpage also provided information of the alleged carbon-neutrality of the World Cup and climate measures to reach that goal, predominantly through offsetting.

2. FIFA's explainer "What is climate change?" available on FIFA's website

In addition to generic information on climate change, FIFA highlighted their commitments to delivering a carbon neutral 2022 World Cup, declaring it to be the first carbon neutral FIFA World Cup.

The plaintiffs alleged that FIFA's statements with regard to carbon neutrality of the 2022 Qatar World Cup were wrong and misleading, thus breaching articles 2 and 3 MRC. To this end, the plaintiffs pointed out the lack of emission reduction, the over reliance on offsetting, inadequate accounting methods, non-adherence to relevant standards and low quality of purchased credits. The plaintiffs also contested FIFA's promotion of the 2022 World Cup being the most compact FIFA World Cup in history, pointing out the promotion of shuttle flights between different locations in order for fans to reach the matches.

Similar claims have simultaneously been launched in France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. The relevant authorities in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland announced that all five complaints would be examined jointly by the Swiss authorities.
Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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