Criminal and Regulatory Responses to Climate Change: Ecocide and Greenwashing

10 May 2024, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm


Gerard Forlin KC, Estelle Dehon KC



This session covers two rapidly developing areas of response to climate change in the criminal and regulatory arenas. Ecocide means unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts. The session will cover:

  • The meaning of ecocide and how it might work in practice as a crime, including as a corporate crime;
  • Proposals in England, Wales and Scotland, to introduce ecocide as a new criminal offence;
  • Steps taken in Europe, including Belgium becoming the first state to recognise ecocide as an international crime and the vote by the EU to criminalise the most serious cases of environmental damage that are “comparable to ecocide”;
  • The work at international level to include ecocide within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court

Greenwashing is the term applied to environmental claims, usually made by companies and organisations in the course of their promotional activities or in their corporate reporting, which wrongly create the impression that a product or service has a positive environmental impact or no impact on the environment. This has rapidly become a significant regulatory issue. The session will cover:

  • The development of new rules in the UK and Europe, addressing greenwashing, both in legislation and through steps by regulators;
  • Decisions in the UK by the Advertising Standards Agency (banning misleading green claims); the Competition and Markets Authority (taking enforcement action against greenwashing, particularly in the fashion industry) and the Financial Conduct Authority’s proposed package of new measures;
  • Anti-greenwashing complaints to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development UK National Contact Point.

This training is part of Cornerstone Climate Month. Purchase your ticket here.