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Greenpeace Germany vs Vattenfall

Case overview

Date filed 29 October 2009
Current status Rejected
Issue Environment and disclosure issues at Vattenfall in Germany
Summary of the case Greenpeace filed a complaint against Vattenfall AB, a Swedish government-owned electricity generating company, for undermining German environmental law and consumer protection issues.

The complaint alleges that Vattenfalls Hamburg-Moorburg coal-fired power plant, which is currently under construction, violates the OECD Guidelines on national environmental policies and consumer protection. Greenpeace alleges that Vattenfall is engaged in unreasonable lobbying and that it undermined German environmental law by filing a complaint with the World Banks arbitration tribunal International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), in which the company demanded €1.4 billion in compensation from the German government because of the stringent environmental standards imposed on Moorburg.

Greenpeace states that despite the companys claims that it is committed to climate protection issues, Vattenfall generates the highest levels of CO2 emissions per kilowatt-hour of any power company in Germany. In addition, the Moorburg plant is expected to use up nearly 10% of the German energy industrys CO2 budget in its projected 40 years of operation while generating only 2% of the total amount of electricity produced in Germany. Greenpeace contends the plants emissions will exceed levels necessary for sustainable development by more than five times.

The complaint also accuses Vattenfall of applying double standards, alleging that while Vattenfall is particularly committed to renewable energy sources in Sweden, the company concentrates on generating environmentally harmful coal energy in Germany.

Lastly, the complaint denounces Vattenfall's misleading policy of disclosure during various malfunctions and accidents at the Krümmel nuclear power plant.
Developments/Outcome The German NCP acknowledged receipt of the complaint and forwarded it to the company as part of its initial assessment.

In March 2010, the parallel proceedings before the ICSID were suspended, and the German NCP subsequently rejected Greenpeaces complaint, claiming that some of the allegations were not substantiated, some did not fall under the jurisdiction of the OECD Guidelines, and some were already being dealt with in the German courts.

After the OECD Guidelines complaint was rejected, the German government and Vattenfall reached an agreement in August 2010 regarding the Moorburg dispute, resulting in the termination of the ICSID proceedings.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Environment, Energy sector, Climate change, Parallel (legal) proceedings, Disclosure of information

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Germany
NCP address Scharnhorststrasse 34-37 D-10115 Berlin, Germany
NCP website www.bmwi.de/go/nationale-kontaktstelle
Other NCPs involved

Complainant

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible Vattenfall AB
Company address
Stockholm
Sweden
Company website
Company in violation
Country of operations Germany
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Some developments are only visible to logged in users.
Date Actor Action Description Document
26 August 2010 Vattenfall AB press release Agreement reached between Vattenfall and German Government regarding the international investment dispute on the Moorburg power plant download pdf (72Kb)  
15 March 2010 Greenpeace Germany statement German NCP's rejection of the complaint (in German). download pdf (290Kb)  
15 March 2010 National Contact Point Germany letter English translation of case rejection by German NCP download pdf (35Kb)  
30 October 2009 Greenpeace Germany press release Press release regarding the filed complaint download pdf (128Kb)  
29 October 2009 Greenpeace Germany file Case filed at the German NCP download pdf (348Kb)  

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