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Case alert: Controversial business practices by Vattenfall's subsidaries in Germany

Greenpeace Germany vs Vattenfall

Oct 29, 2009
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On October 29 2009 Greenpeace Germany has lodged an OECD Guidelines complaint at the German NCP against Vattenfall AB and its German subsidiaries Vattenfall Europe AG, Vattenfall Europe Generation AG & Co. KG and Kernkraftwerk Kruemmel GmbH & Co. oHG for violations concerning environmental policies, consumer protection, disclosure and unreasonable lobbying by the company in Germany.

Vattenfall AB is a Swedish joint stock company owned by the Swedish government. The German companies Vattenfall Europe AG, Vattenfall Europe Generation AG & Co. KG and Kernkraftwerk Kruemmel GmbH & Co. oHG are subsidiaries of Vattenfall AB. The Greenpeace complaint against Vattenfall deals with different issuess: the Vattenfall coal power plant in Hamburg Moorburg, the nuclear power plant in Kruemmel in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Vattenfall's policy of disclosure during various malfunctions and accidents in the Kruemmel power plant and the lobbying practices by the company.

The main point at issue is the Hamburg-Moorburg coal-fired power plant with which Vattenfall is thought to violate the OECD Guidelines, in particular those concerning national environmental policies and consumer protection. Vattenfall is attempting to undermine German environmental law by filing a complaint with the World Bank arbitration tribunal ICSID. Vattenfall is demanding EUR 1.4 billion in compensation from the German government because of the environmental standards imposed on Moorburg. Greenpeace has calculated that Moorburg emissions will exceed levels necessary for sustainable development by more than five times. While Vattenfall claims in its public relations campaign, “Climate Manifesto”, that it is committed to climate protection issues, in Germany the company generates the highest levels of CO2 emissions per kilowatt/hour. The Moorburg coal-fired power plant now under construction, is expected to use up nearly 10 percent of the German energy industry’s CO2 budget in its projected 40 years of operation, while generating only a scant two percent of the total amount of energy produced.

Furthermore, Greenpeace claims the company applies double standards. While in Sweden Vattenfall is particularly committed to renewable energy sources, in Germany the company concentrates on generating coal energy, which is environmentally harmful.

Read more about the case in the OECD Watch case database.

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