Sustainability as a policy priority It is no news that sustainability is an important topic of competition policy across the EU. There is clear consensus that competition law enforcement should be careful not to hinder cooperation between companies, even competitors, that facilitates the realisation of or progress towards reaching sustainability goals of climate policy (or…

In European competition law, both Article 101 and 102 TFEU inquiries require a contextual approach to the dispute at hand. Since enforcers must consider any agreement or business activity within the economic, legal, and factual context of which it forms part, regulatory regimes become important guideposts for any competition analysis. This point has been emphasized…

On 1 June 2022, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (‘FCA’) published its draft Sustainability Guidelines (‘Guidelines’) to provide guidance for assessing ecological/environmental sustainability agreements under the new sustainability exemption recently introduced in Austrian antitrust law (§ 2 para 1 of the Austrian Cartel Act).   Background The new sustainability exemption was introduced by the Austrian…

Debates amongst competition scholars and practitioners have been buzzing with references to sustainability recently. Several books and articles were written about the topic in the last two years and several competition agencies have written position papers about it. Most of the debate about the interaction between competition law and sustainability concerns agreements between competitors that…

The Commission’s draft chapter on sustainability cooperation may surprise even those following the debate about EU antitrust policy and sustainability closely. A more worldly approach to benefits, a new and useful tailored safe harbour for sustainability standards, plus a good first attempt to keep sustainability cooperation out of Article 101.1 (or at least the ‘by…

High on the agenda of the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (“ACM”) is the topic of energy transition and sustainability. The ACM has started to tackle the subject this year by assessing two sustainability initiatives under the competition rules and by announcing that it will explore the opportunities that the energy law framework provides…

On 10 September 2021, certain significant changes to Austria’s competition law entered into force, although some of the merger control related changes will apply only as of 1 January 2022: Merger control. The amendments include a revision of Austria’s revenue-based merger control threshold, the introduction of the significant lessening of competition test, and a broadening…

On 8 July 2021, the Commission found that Daimler, BMW and the Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche) violated competition law by colluding on technical development in the area of emission cleaning for new passenger diesel cars, fining the latter two a total of €875 million. The current hype regarding competition law and sustainability comes…

On 6 May 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its evaluation of the Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations and the Guidelines on Horizontal co-operation agreements (“HGL”) (as reported here). The evaluation indicated that revision and clarity is needed in various areas, inter alia for sustainability agreements. The Dutch Authority for Consumer & Markets (“ACM”) announced on…

A February 4 conference on competition policy and the Green Deal sponsored by the European Commission’s (the Commission’s) Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) highlighted the divergences of opinions among antitrust officials and other stakeholders on how competition policy should support sustainability objectives.  DG COMP aims to take a leading role on sustainability issues; its October-November…