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Climate Alliance Switzerland v. FIFA

Jurisdiction: Fair Trading Commission

Side A: Klimaallianz Schweiz (Ngo)

Side B: FIFA (Ngo)

Core objectives: Whether FIFA's campaign on a "carbon neutral" 2022 World Cup is misleading 

This case concerned FIFA's promotion of the 2022 World Cup as "carbon neutral". 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 plaintiff, Climate Alliance Switzerland, alleged that these advertising claims with regard to the carbon neutrality of the 2022 World Cup were misleading, both with regard to the truthfulness and the clarity of the claims. They argued that the campaign was in breach of art. 3 para. l let. b and I of the Federal Act against Unfair Competition; arts. 5, D1 and D3 of the ICC Code; and Rule 82 of the Swiss Fairness Rules.

To this end, the plaintiff 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. The plaintiff also 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.

Similar claims have simultaneously been launched in France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Belgium. 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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