Cologne, 16 March 2021. The French Supreme Administrative Court, the Conseil d'État, has granted urgent applications for the immediate suspension of the new French labelling regulation for packaging. Der Grüne Punkt and PRO Europe, but also influential associations of the French consumer goods industry had filed such urgent applications. The discrimination of the Green Dot mark associated with the French labelling Ordinance is thus suspended.
The text of the Labelling Ordinance challenged by the suspension requests stipulates that from 1 April 2021, packaging placed on the market in France with “symbols likely to confuse the consumer in matters of waste separation”, double the participation fee must be paid to the French system CITEO. Due to the regulations of the ordinance, the use of the trademark “Der Grüne Punkt” could also have led to such a substantial malus in France, as the French legislator apparently also wants to see this malus apply to the Green Dot. The fact that the Green Dot has been a globally known financing symbol for recycling systems for packaging for 30 years was apparently ignored here. The enforcement of the regulation would therefore not only damage the reputation of the brand, but would also cause considerable effort and additional costs, in some cases in the millions, for companies that deliver packaged products with the Green Dot to France.
PRO Europe and Der Grüne Punkt had argued, among other things, that the regulation would not only entail considerable financial damage for companies, but would also constitute inadmissible discrimination against the Green Dot brand and thus also against the European organisations which, as Green Dot systems, have been advancing packaging recycling in their respective national markets for years.
Main statements of the court:
- There are considerable doubts about the legality of the challenged malus regulation.
- The ruling would mean a restriction of the free movement of goods in the EU internal market.
- Manufacturers would be forced either to pay an unjustified malus for the use of the trademark or to create their own packaging lines and merchandise management channels only for the French market – this would result in additional costs, sometimes in the millions of Euros.
- The justifications put forward by the French Ministry for the Green Dot penalty are not sufficient to justify the considerable expenditure involved and to bring about the intended improvement in the separation behaviour of French consumers.
The court's decision suspends the penalty payment that would otherwise have come into force on 1 April 2021. The main proceedings that will now follow will probably take ten to 18 months. Der Grüne Punkt and PRO Europe assume that the convincing arguments from the summary proceedings will be confirmed in the main proceeding.
About PRO Europe: PRO Europe s.p.r.l. (Packaging Recovery Organisation Europe), founded in 1995, is the umbrella organisation for European systems for the recovery and recycling of packaging and packaging waste, which mainly use the registered trademark "Der Grüne Punkt" as a funding symbol. In its main role, PRO Europe is the general licensor of the trademark "Der Grüne Punkt" for Europe.
Your contact person:
Norbert Völl, Tel.: +49 2203 937507
About the Der Grüne Punkt Group:
The companies of Der Grüne Punkt are service providers for extended producer responsibility, leading suppliers of secondary raw materials for plastics, and premium producers of plastic recyclates, and as such positioned as the premier solution providers for the needs of the circular economy. Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH (DSD), with the Green Dot as its trademark, was among the companies to introduce and establish the dual system in Germany, and stands for intelligent take-back systems, plus the development and marketing of innovative recyclates and services. Systec Plastics, at its facilities in Eisfeld and Hörstel, produces premium-quality recyclates under the Systalen brand name for the international market. The companies are grouped together in DSD – Duales System Holding GmbH & Co. KG.