First Danish Climate Lawsuit Targets EU’s Biggest Pork Producer

Denmark is facing its first climate lawsuit as activists add to the list of countries being dragged to the courts in an effort to protect the environment.

A group of three non-profit organizationsallege that Danish Crown, Europe’s biggest pork producer, is misrepresenting its climate footprint in a marketing campaign that says pork production is “climate controlled” and the meat is “more climate friendly than you think.”

“Just because beef is more polluting doesn’t mean you can call pork climate-friendly,” Frederik Sandby, head of one of the groups, the Climate Movement, said.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Friday, comes as non-profits rack up unexpected victories in court rooms. About 1,800 lawsuits related to climate change are being fought around the world, according to the climatecasechart.com database. Last month, Royal Dutch Shell Plc was ordered by a Dutch court to slash its emissions in a case filed by a local environmental group.

Danish Crown defended its campaign and said it isn’t misleading consumers. What they are buying is “pork from a pig that grew up on a farm with a clear strategy for reducing CO2 emissions,” Astrid Nielsen, vice president for communications, said by email.

Danish Crown, a cooperative owned by more than 6,000 Danish farmers and has another 13,000 suppliers in other markets, has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in 2030.

The company also faces a complaint with the Danish consumer protection agency by Greenpeace Nordic. It alleges that Danish Crown lacks controls on production to guarantee its claims, and is lowballing its emissions by not including those generated from growing feed crops.

“This is a huge contributor to the climate problem,” said Kristine Clement who leads the organization’s local efforts on agriculture. “What Danish Crown is doing is confusing consumers about how to eat climate-friendly.”

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