Short Reads

ACM established guiding principles in relation to sustainability arrangements

ACM established guiding principles in relation to sustainability arrangements

ACM established guiding principles in relation to sustainability arrangements

02.01.2017 NL law

On 2 December 2016, the Authority for Consumers and Markets ("ACM") adopted guiding principles in relation to sustainability arrangements, together with an accompanying 'decision tree', providing guidance for conducting an initial assessment of the compatibility of the sustainability initiative with the competition rules.

Sustainability is high on the agenda of both the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the ACM. In the beginning of October 2016, the Ministry of Economic Affairs published revised policy rules and an explanatory note, introducing specific factors that the ACM must take into account when assessing sustainability arrangements [see our November 2016 newsletter article].

Businesses are increasingly seeking to cooperate in relation to sustainable products or services, for example in the field of public health, animal welfare or fair trade. In order to prevent the hampering of legitimate cooperation between competitors in the area of sustainability – for fear of risking high antitrust fines – the ACM has published three basic principles, which it considers decisive for its enforcement activities in relation to sustainability arrangements:

1. The ACM will not take action when sustainability arrangements are supported by broad social consensus.
2. The ACM may open an investigation following complaints or other signals regarding sustainability arrangements.
3. The ACM will strive to swiftly and effectively resolve any potential concerns.

In practice, businesses should continue to adopt a prudent approach towards cooperating with competitors on sustainability matters. The ACM reserves its right to take action following complaints, even if the sustainability arrangement enjoys broad social support from e.g. the government and other businesses. However, the ACM has shown its willingness to take swift and effective action to address potential concerns by allowing businesses to amend (parts of) a sustainability arrangement without necessarily blocking the initiative or imposing a fine.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of January 2017. Other articles in this newsletter:

1. General Court rules on the concept of a single and continuous infringement in the smart card chips cartel case 
2. Envelope maker's cartel fine annulled in first successful European settlement appeal
3. District Court of Limburg rules that damages claims in the Dutch prestressing steel case are time-barred
4. Belgian Competition Authority confirms that the acquisition by a dominant player of a small competitor is not automatically an abuse of a dominant position

Team

Related news

08.06.2021 NL law
De Europese Klimaatwet uitgelicht

Short Reads - Op 21 april 2021 is een voorlopig akkoord bereikt over de Europese Klimaatwet. Deze Klimaatwet kan worden gezien als de kern van de Europese Green Deal, die in december 2019 werd gepubliceerd door de Europese Commissie. Het overstijgende doel van deze instrumenten is om een klimaatneutraal Europa te bewerkstelligen in 2050. De Europese Klimaatwet zorgt ervoor dat deze klimaatneutraliteitsdoelstelling in een Europese verordening wordt vastgelegd. Dit blogbericht gaat nader in op de Europese Klimaatwet en legt uit wat dit met zich brengt.

Read more

03.06.2021 NL law
First material judgment in Dutch damages proceedings in trucks infringement

Short Reads - In its judgment of 12 May 2021, the Amsterdam District Court ruled that it has not been established that it is definitively excluded that the trucks infringement led to damage to the claimants. However, this does not alter the fact that it must still be assessed for each claimant whether the threshold for referral to the damages assessment procedure has been met. For this to be the case, it must be plausible that a claimant may have suffered damage as a result of the unlawful actions of the truck manufacturers. The Amsterdam District Court has not yet ruled on this issue.

Read more

08.06.2021 NL law
Actualiteiten milieustraftrecht: zorgelijke ontwikkelingen

Short Reads - Afgelopen vrijdag 28 mei jl. hadden wij een inspirerend webinar over actualiteiten op het gebied van milieustrafrecht. Wij spraken gedurende 90 minuten onder meer over aansprakelijkheden van bestuurders, de zorgplichten, incidentenrapportages vanuit strafrechtelijk- en bestuursrechtelijk perspectief.

Read more

03.06.2021 NL law
Highest Dutch Court: ACM has not proved dominance of Dutch railway operator NS

Short Reads - A high market share is not always proof of a dominant position. The Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) upheld the annulment of the ACM’s fine of nearly EUR 41 million on Dutch railway operator NS for alleged abuse of dominance. According to the CBb, NS did not abuse its dominant position as the ACM failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that NS holds a dominant position on the market for the exercise of the right to exploit the main rail network concession.

Read more