Danish Crown has resolved a legal dispute over greenwashing allegations by committing to refrain from using deceptive terms regarding the pork giant’s environmental credentials.

The case revolves around the marketing slogans “Danish pig is more climate-friendly than you think” and “climate-controlled pig”, which sparked criticism in 2021 from the Danish Vegetarian Association and the Climate Movement in Denmark campaign groups.

Denmark’s Western High Court ruled in Danish Crown’s favor regarding the climate-friendly term in March. However, it found the “climate-controlled pig” phrase in violation of section five of the Danish Marketing Practices Act.

Danish Crown has now taken further action by “responding affirmatively to the claims” of the two campaign groups in a statement released on Friday (12 April) concerning both marketing slogans. The company has informed the Danish Supreme Court of this admission.

The statement reads: “Danish Crown accepts that when we used the aforementioned statements, we did not comply with the requirements of the marketing law, and also accepts a ban on using these statements in any marketing going forward.”

Danish Crown, headquartered in Randers, withdrew the marketing campaigns in 2021 following opposition and the initiation of legal proceedings by the Vegetarian Association and the Climate Movement. These groups argued that the slogans misled consumers and amounted to greenwashing.

“Since the lawsuit was initiated, we have emphasised that it is crucial for us and the rest of the business world to be able to communicate our climate actions in order to differentiate ourselves and make climate effort a good business – and we still believe this,” Danish Crown stated on Friday.

“At the same time, the long and thorough process in the Western High Court has led to both healthy reflections and a useful debate about the boundaries when a company needs to communicate about sustainability.”

In response, the Climate Movement issued a joint statement with the Vegetarian Association today (15 April), acknowledging Danish Crown’s admission. They noted that the marketing campaigns “made their climate-damaging products look greener than they really are”.

Frederik Roland Sandby, head of the Movement’s secretariat, remarked: “I hope that many companies will follow along and take lessons so that we can have a fair market where climate-harming products, such as pork, are not marketed as climate-friendly.”

In March, the Western High Court ordered Danish Crown, one of Europe’s largest pork processors, to pay legal costs of DKr300,000 (then $44,000) and to acknowledge its breach of marketing laws.

On Friday, the company stated: “We now wish to look forward and instead focus our efforts on transitioning to a less climate-impacting production. In these efforts, we will naturally communicate about our climate actions within the framework of the Western High Court’s decision and this affirmative response to the plaintiffs’ other claims.

“This means that we will also continue to communicate about our climate actions in Danish Crown, but of course with great attention to ensuring that the promotions in our marketing reflect the guidelines that have been clarified in connection with the lawsuit.”

The joint statement from the campaign groups highlighted Danish Crown’s commitment to transitioning to less-damaging production, stating it is “positive that Danish Crown hereby acknowledges that their production is harmful to the climate”.

Rune-Christoffer Dragsdahl, secretary general of the Vegetarian Association, commented in the statement: “Pork and pig production are unimaginably harmful to the climate, not least because of the massive deforestation that takes place so that we can feed millions of pigs with soy.

“We should instead lower meat production, plant more trees and re-establish forests to buy ourselves valuable time to slow down the violent climate changes we are all in the middle of.”


Sam Allcock, a seasoned entrepreneur with over two decades of expertise in Food & Drink Editorial.

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