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Germanwatch vs. Volkswagen

Case overview

Date filed 7 May 2007
Current status Rejected
Issue Volkswagen’s climate change impacts
Summary of the case Mainly due to VW’s climate damaging product range and business strategy, Germanwatch accuses the company of violating the Guidelines in 15 concrete cases, grouped into the following categories:

First, given the problem of climate change and the two-degree-limit for global temperature rise, a company like VW must formulate and regularly evaluate detailed climate protection goals for single products as well as for the whole product range – Volkswagen has thus far not done this.

Second, VW does not sufficiently account for dangers to the climate emerging from its products. In order to properly do so, the company would have to forecast and evaluate the actual emissions of its products over their full life cycle and address this in the management and decision making process.

Third, VW has achieved less progress in complying with the self-commitment (ACEA Agreement) than the company agreed to with the European Commission in 1998. Given the company’s existing strategy and its current product range, it is doubtful that VW can achieve the self-commitment by 2008.

Fourth, VW advertises massively for vehicles with high fuel consumption, but fails to transparently inform consumers about the climate impact of such automobiles.

Fifth, VW has directly and indirectly (through association memberships) been involved in the distribution of false information about climate change or planned policy measures.

Finally, VW has directly and indirectly lobbied against various climate policy frameworks that include legislation to limit the consumption of new passenger cars.

Germanwatch’s complaint is the first that highlights the relevance of the climate change issue in the OECD Guidelines.


Developments/Outcome The German NCP notified the complainants of receipt of the complaint and forwarded the complaint to Volkswagen. However, on 20 November 2007, the NCP rejected the case, claiming that the alleged violations are beyond the scope of the Guidelines. Germanwatch does not agree with the NCP’s decision not to investigate the case and is considering further steps, including legal approaches.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Environment, Climate change

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 Volkswagen AG
Company address Autostads GmbH
38440 Wolfsburg
Germany
Company website http://www.volkswagen.com/vwcms/international_portal/virtualmaster/en.html
Company in violation Volkswagen AG
Country of operations Germany
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Some developments are only visible to logged in users.
Date Actor Action Description Document
20 November 2007 National Contact Point Germany reject The German NCP rejects the case of Germanwatch vs. Volkswagen with the statement that none of the issues are regarded violations of the OECD Guidelines. download pdf (15Kb)  
20 November 2007 National Contact Point Germany reject The German NCP rejects the case of Germanwatch vs. Volkswagen on November 20th, 2007 with the statement that none of the issues are regarded violations of the OECD Guidelines. download pdf (125Kb)  
7 May 2007 Germanwatch report Germanwatch briefing paper with background information on the complaint. download pdf (83Kb)  
7 May 2007 Germanwatch file Germanwatch files complaint. download pdf (545Kb)  
7 May 2007 Germanwatch press release Germanwatch press release English. download pdf (37Kb)  
7 May 2007 Germanwatch press release Germanwatch Pressemitteilung Deutsch download pdf (41Kb)  
7 May 2007 Germanwatch report Germanwatch Hintergrundpapier auf Deutsch download pdf (91Kb)  
7 May 2007 Germanwatch file Beschwerde auf Deutsch download pdf (574Kb)  

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