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.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
- Version 2000 Chapter II
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.1
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.11
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.5
- Version 2000 Chapter V
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.2 Subparagraph V.2.A
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.5
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.6 Subparagraph V.6.A
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.8
- Version 2000 Chapter VII
- Version 2000 Chapter VII Paragraph VII.4
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.