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Ombudsman criticises Coca-Cola

The Danish ombudsman says that Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle advertising campaign was misleading.

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The Danish Consumer Ombudsman has handed down a decision in which he has criticised US soft drinks producer Coca-Cola for misleading customers about its environmental footprint and contravening both Danish and EU marketing rules, according to Berlingske.

According to the report, the decision contains nine points of criticism suggesting among other things that Coca-Cola has presented undocumented claims and has failed to change policy when breaches have been brought to its attention.

Since the United Nations Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Coca-Cola has attempted to brand itself as environmentally-friendly, among other ways in saying that it PlantBottle resulted in reduced CO2 and reduced pollution. But the Danish ombudsman has wanted proof.

“Consumers must be able to trust the green messages that companies issue. There must be proper documentation,” Consumer Ombudsman Henrik Øe tells Berlingske.

Although Coca-Cola had said it would produce a life-cycle analysis of the bottle’s environmental footprint in 2011, the report says it has never been carried out or published.

Instead, Coca-Cola has referred to claims by two professors as documentation – but the ombudsman says that claims by two professors cannot substitute a life cycle analysis.

Coca-Cola admits having broken some rules, but does not want to comment on the Ombudsman’s decision, which the company received two weeks ago.

“We will be taking our time to discuss what consequences should be drawn in connetcion with the decision,” Coca-Cola Cokfstmmunications Director Mikael Bonde-Nielsen says in an e-mail to Berlingske.

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