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Environmentalists and Consumers Denounce Repsol for Greenwashing

Greenpeace, Ecologists in Action, and OCU file complaints against Repsol for greenwashing biofuels. Allegations state Repsol conceals environmental and social impacts of palm oil use, misleadingly labeling fuels as “sustainable” or “eco-friendly.” Legal actions seek sanctions, ad removal, and public rectification. Iberdrola also accuses Repsol of unfair competition and greenwashing.




The green organizations Greenpeace and Ecologists in Action allied with the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) have filed complaints with the National Commission of Markets and Competition and the General Directorate of Consumer Affairs against a greenwashing budget by the oil company Repsol.

In both actions, these groups allege that Repsol “hides in its public communication and advertising the deforestation and other environmental and social impacts caused by the production of palm oil that is used to manufacture its biofuels.” The legal actions understand that the company advertises its “biofuels” in a “generic” manner without distinguishing between varieties and “without specifying their attributes or environmental impact, which is misleading for citizens.”

These three organizations detail that Repsol advertises these fuels with the labels “sustainable, eco-fuels, carbon neutral, with a low carbon footprint or renewable” and that this strategy, without detailing its characteristics, “induces confusion among citizens, be plagued by partial information, vagueness, concealment of relevant information or outright misleading environmental allegations.”

This movement seeks to substantiate a sanction against Repsol in addition to removing the advertisements and making a public rectification.

The complaints from environmentalists and consumers are in line with the one presented by Iberdrola against Repsol – in this case in court – in which it is accused of promoting sustainable initiatives, “when its multi-product offer seeks to promote the use of fuels,” as well as “focusing on sustainability, when it constitutes a minor element of their current activities.” In this sense, the British advertising authority has already ordered Respol twice to withdraw advertising campaigns due to greenwashing.

Iberdrola keeps the hatchet against the Government and goes after Repsol for unfair competition

From open confrontation with the Government to opening a battle against Repsol for unfair competition and assuming that there is no going back to the nuclear blackout agreed with the Executive in 2019. It is the path followed by Iberdrola in its offensive against Repsol, which it accuses of “ unfair competition and misleading advertising” for ‘greenwashing’ , that is, selling as green what is not so.

It has done so at a time when the EU or the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) have made it a priority to combat the so-called ecological money laundering, which has gained increasing prominence in the financial world. In the midst of the rise of products with environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria to fight the climate crisis, these practices can generate inefficiencies in the markets in price formation. They favor the overvaluation of assets considered green, which fuels the risk of bubbles.

The company chaired by Ignacio Sánchez Galán has filed a lawsuit against Repsol in Commercial Court 2 of Santander (where the oil company’s electricity marketing company is based) for “unfair competition and misleading advertising.” He bases his accusation on initiatives such as Repsol’s campaign to offer renewable fuels, coming from urban, agricultural or livestock crops or waste. The oil company plans to reach 600 gas stations with these products by the end of the year, compared to around 120 currently.

Iberdrola accuses Repsol of promoting sustainable initiatives “when its multi-product offering seeks to promote the use of fuels”, as well as of “focusing on sustainability, when it constitutes a minor element of its current activities.” Of the 6,167 million euros that Repsol invested in 2023, just over 30% was related to decarbonization. In Iberdrola, which invested another record amount, 11,382 million, the percentage was 93%.

The accusation has had an angry response from the CEO of the oil company. Josu Jon Imaz has stated that Iberdrola “is not used to competing in an open market”, but rather “to moving in regulated environments that depend on the Official State Gazette”. The Basque executive attributes the offensive to the fact that Iberdrola “is nervous” about the oil company’s growth in the electricity sector.

Repsol, the fourth operator in the market after acquiring Viesgo in 2018, closed 2023 with more than 2.1 million electricity and gas customers in Spain, 49.1% more than a year before. Still far from the 11.44 million electricity supply points that Iberdrola had in Spain, after registering a slight increase compared to 11.36 million in 2022.

Much of Repsol’s growth was supported by the acquisition of 50.01% of CHC (which allowed it to add 307,000 clients) and the takeover, in December 2023, of Gana Energía, which provided it with another 247,000 contracts. The oil company closed the year with a market share of 5.6%, compared to 4.2% in 2022, according to the figures managed by the company, which is going to submit its decarbonization strategy to the advisory vote of its shareholders in the Meeting of May 10.


(Featured image by awsloley via Pixabay)

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Jeremy Whannell loves writing about the great outdoors, business ventures and tech giants, cryptocurrencies, marijuana stocks, and other investment topics. His proficiency in internet culture rivals his obsession with artificial intelligence and gaming developments. A biker and nature enthusiast, he prefers working and writing out in the wild over an afternoon in a coffee shop.