Vattenfall is a Swedish state-owned energy company that derives most of its energy from hydroelectric dams and nuclear power. It has attempted to portray itself as green by selling off power plants and lignite coal mines in Germany to Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH). The plants are still running at almost full capacity and will not shut down until 2038.

The company sued the government of Germany twice when it stood to lose profits in the face of environmental regulation. The first case was brought in 2009, in which Vattenfall demanded €1.4 billion in compensation over the imposition of strict environmental requirements to protect the Elbe River from the Moorburg coal-fired power station. In the second case, Vattenfall sued for €3.7 billion in 2012 in compensation for the decision to shut down the company’s nuclear power plants.

Vattenfall has been criticized for its role in the design of the Theun Hinboun hydropower dam in Laos, which displaced thousands in the 1990s. In Colombia, it sources coal from the Cerrejón coal mine and associated port and railroad were constructed by the forcible removal of the Indigenous Wayüu community of Tamaquito as well as the Afro-Colombian inhabitants of Tabaco beginning in the 1980s with little or no compensation.


Electricity generation, distribution and sales, district heating, hydro, nuclear, wind, solar, biomass, waste, coal and natural gas.

Vattenfall was profiled as part of the report "Green" Multinationals Exposed: How the Energy Transition is Being Hijacked by Corporate Interests.


Violation data is still being gathered for Vattenfall at this time.

Information in this section is drawn from the Violation Tracker database produced by the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First in Washington DC. It is the most comprehensive source of data on business violations of laws and regulations in the United States. For specific examples of misconduct, please click on the links.


Videos & Podcasts
Germany: Switch off Vattenfall, Stop the Moorburg corridor!
Sweden: XR Stockholm Vattenfall
Sweden: "Too little too late" - A message to Vattenfall (Greta Thunberg)
Belgium: EFATV: Symbolic protest at Vattenfall Offices in Brussels
Hearing: Vattenfall AB and others v Federal Republic of Germany (October 10, 2016) (Part 1)
Sweden: A forest campainger working for Fern delivered the open letter directly to Vattenfall's office.


CorpWatch Stories
Global Ambulance Chasers: Lawyers Profit From Suing States for Multinationals

Pratap Chatterjee | CorpWatch | December 17, 2012

So Philip Morris, the U.S. tobacco multinational, is suing Australia and Uruguay for compulsory health warnings on cigarette packets while Vattenfall of Sweden is suing Germany for €3.7 billion ($4.8 billion) for deciding to phase out nuclear energy following the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

The Carbon Brokers

Pratap Chatterjee | CorpWatch | February 18, 2005

The biggest emitters of carbon dioxide registered under the EU scheme are respectively; the German energy groups RWE AG and E.ON, Swedish power company Vattenfall, Endesa from Spain, followed by Anglo-Dutch steel and aluminium company Corus Group, Royal Dutch Shell Group, Thyssen Krupp, Estonian power group Eesti Energia and Britain's Drax Power.

Other Key Sources


Recent & Ongoing Campaigns
Belgium, Germany, Netherlands & Sweden: Vattenfall Day of Action 2023

Biofuel Watch | April 25, 2023

In Solna, Sweden, activists from Fridays for Future as well as Skydda Skogen (Protect the Forest) protested both outside and inside the companies AGM. In Berlin, Germany, nine organisations held a banner protet outside the German Vattenfall head office... In Diemen, Netherlands, campaigners held a banner protest outside a Vattenfall gas plant, on the site where the company wants to build a large wood-burning heat plant. And in Brussels, a forest campainger working for Fern delivered the open letter directly to Vattenfall’s office.

Netherlands: Extinction Rebellion occupies Vattenfall headquarters to force Tata to close

Thomas Jak | NH Nieuws | December 14, 2022

About thirty activists with Extinction Rebellion have occupied the headquarters of Vattenfall in Southeast Amsterdam between three and seven o'clock today. They are demanding the closure of the company's power plant on the Tata Steel site.

Germany, Netherlands & the UK: Climate justice campaigners hold Day of Action urging Vattenfall to move Beyond Burning

Sophie Bastable | Environmental Paper Network | April 27, 2022

Street protests in Germany, Netherlands and UK accompanied by international social media action, denouncing Vattenfall’s investments in wood bioenergy as well as continued fossil fuel burning.

Germany: Labor dispute at Vattenfall in Berlin

Johanna Jürgens | TAZ | February 16, 2022

While the collective bargaining negotiations are going on, Verdi has called on the 2,600 Berlin employees of the Vattenfall Group and on the 1,600 employees of Stromnetz Berlin GmbH to go on a warning strike. Verdi demands a wage increase of 6 percent and better pay for trainees. (There have been yearly warning strikes to pressure the company into negotiating for better working conditions with German unions.)

Germany: “The next heat wave is here”: Climate activists protest in front of the Vattenfall factory in Berlin-Mitte

Tagesspiegel | July 8, 2021

Activists from GasExit and Robin Wood protested in front of the Vattenfall plant in Berlin Mitte on Thursday. Although Vattenfall gives itself a green image, it does not live up to the claim.

The Netherlands: Extinction Rebellion is campaigning against the arrival of the Diemen biomass plant

Bo Broek | Het Parool | March 5, 2021

Extinction Rebellion activists are blocking an access bridge at the entrance to the Vattenfall power plant in Diemen on Friday morning. They are protesting against the possible arrival of a biomass plant.

Germany: NGOs award the "Golden Toilet Brush" to Vattenfall and Uniper

Siegfried Schoenfeld | Lokal Kompass | January 21, 2020

Unions and environmental organizations protested against the energy companies Vattenfall and Uniper on Tuesday in Berlin by awarding them the negative prize of the “Golden Toilet Brush”. The event took place in front of the doors of the Handelsblatt Energy Summit, at which Vattenfall CEO Magnus Hall and Uniper CEO Andreas Schierenbeck took part as speakers.

Germany: Fridays for future protest at Vattenfall coal power station Moorburg

Joerg Boethling | Alamy | October 4, 2019

Fridays for future protest demo at Vattenfall coal power station Moorburg to protest against coal burning and hard coal imports, activists with bicycle on Kattwyk bridge.

The Netherlands: Amsterdam citizens urge Sweden to put an end to Vattenfall's catastrophic plans

Biomass Murder | August 17, 2019

Over 5,500 local residents, in a village of less than 30,000, and citizens of nearby situated Amsterdam city districts have signed a petition against building the largest biomass heating plant in the Netherlands. The local population does not want a polluting biomass energy plant imposed on their community.

Sweden: Extinction Rebellion blockades Vattenfall's headquarters

Aktuell Hållbarhet | January 28, 2019

The recently formed international environmental movement Extinction Rebellion, XR, protested against Vattenfall's coal-fired power plant by holding a sit-in in front of the company's headquarters in Stockholm.

Germany: More than 200 Vattenfall employees are protesting against job cuts in Hohenwarte

Jens Voigt | Ostthüringer Zeitung | August 31, 2017

More than 200 Vattenfall Wasserkraft employees and supporters protested against the planned job cuts in Hohenwarte on Thursday.

Environmental protesters are occupying a German coal mine

DW | May 14, 2016

On Friday the protesters had already occupied the nearby lignite strip mine at Welzow, which feeds the massive power plant run by the Swedish utility Vattenfall. The company said around 500 activists had spent the night at the Schwarze Pumpe facility ahead of Saturday's demonstration.

Major Investigations
& Lawsuits
Netherlands: Vattenfall not allowed to increase customer's rates multiple times a year, court rules

NL Times | March 1, 2023

Vattenfall was guilty of “unfair commercial practices” by raising energy rates several times last year, the subdistrict court in Amsterdam ruled.

Germany: GDPR fine: Hamburg DPA fines Vattenfall €900,000

Data Privacy Manager | October 4, 2021

On 24 September 2021, the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) issued a GDPR fine of little over €900,000 to Vattenfall Europe Sales GmbH.

Germany gives nuke plant operators $2.9B for early shutdown

AP News | March 5, 2021

Some utility companies have sued the German government, arguing they should receive significant compensation for lost investments and the electricity they can’t generate from the plants due to the early shutdown. In a joint statement the environment and economy ministries said that Swedish utility company Vattenfall will receive 1.425 billion euros.

Germany: Cooling at the Moorburg power plant remains illegal

Legal Tribune Online | September 2, 2020

"All in all, the authority and the energy company Vattenfall have again received a warning," said BUND state manager Manfred Braasch. He hopes that they will accept the verdict and not appeal again. "Against the background of the climate crisis alone, the coal-fired power plant, which is already in deficit, must be shut down as quickly as possible."

Europe: Vattenfall accused of breaking the law

Viktor Brandt Kærgaard | EnergyWatch | February 12, 2019

Thousands of leaked documents and emails, which supposedly show how Vattenfall tried to get rid of employees who protested what they believe are serious violations of both European competition rules and Vattenfall's own ethical guidelines.

Germany: Vattenfall's lawsuit to cost approximately 20 million euros

Silke Wettach | Wirtschaftswoche | January 17, 2020

The lawsuit that the Swedish energy company Vattenfall has filed against Germany because of the nuclear phase-out have cost the government 18.6 million euros so far... In the 2020 budget, a further 2.5 million euros are earmarked for the suit, meaning the costs could exceed 20 million euros this year.

United Kingdom: Vattenfall ‘drug abuse’ whistleblower awarded tens of thousands in wrongful dismissal case

Stephen Walsh | The Press and Journal | January 26, 2018

A whistleblower sacked after raising concerns about drug abuse and significant health and safety breaches on a major construction project fell victim to “character assassination”, a tribunal has ruled.

Vattenfall investigates human rights violations in Colombia 

Pax for Peace | March 15, 2017

Swedish energy company Vattenfall is carrying out a three-week investigation into human rights violations associated with coal mining in Colombia. This week they are visiting the Cesar coal region, where thousands of people have been murdered and tens of thousands driven from their land.

Germany: Court blocks Vattenfall district heating line

Bild | February 24, 2010

The energy supplier Vattenfall will not be allowed to build the controversial district heating line from the new Moorburg power plant to Hamburg-Altona for the time being. The Hamburg Higher Administrative Court (OVG) ordered Vattenfall to stop construction work on Wednesday in an urgent procedure at the request of the environmental organization BUND...

Greenpeace Germany vs Vattenfall

OECD Watch | October 29, 2009

The complaint alleges that Vattenfall's Hamburg-Moorburg coal-fired power plant, which is currently under construction, violates the OECD Guidelines on national environmental policies and consumer protection.

Germany: Vattenfall sues environmental agency

Abendblatt | April 14, 2008

The energy company is suing over an outstanding permit for the controversial coal-fired power plant in Hamburg-Moorburg.

German electricity price scandal

Cécile de Corbière | Le Figaro | October 15, 2007

It appears that Eon, RWE, Vattenfall and EnBW, which share almost 80% of the market, used their dominant position to inflate the price to the detriment of the consumer.

Environmental Impacts
Finland: Consumer Ombudsman: Vattenfall's environmental marketing is misleading

Netti Trendi | December 15, 2022

Vattenfall has run an advertisement on TV with the phrase "fossil-free life in one generation", but the Finnish Consumer and Competition Authority (KKV) considers the message to be too unclear. According to the Consumer Ombudsman, it should be possible to reliably verify the fossil-free claim presented in the advertisement.

Energy Firms Are Going ‘Green’ by Offloading Dirty Coal Plants

Yannic Rack | Wired | February 23, 2022

Vattenfall has not actually phased out the vast majority of its emissions—it simply paid someone else to take them. Under its then-CEO Magnus Hall, the company struck a deal in 2016 to offload four of its most polluting power plants and several coal mines to Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH), a private company controlled by Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský...

United Kingdom: Ofgem reveals list of suppliers with fake renewable fuel mix claims

Dimitris Mavrokefalidis | Energy Live News | December 16, 2021

Suppliers who held insufficient REGOs and/or GoOs to support the proportion of renewable electricity they reported to supply were Eneco Energy Trade BV, ESB Energy, Gazprom Energy, Green Supplier Limited, HUB Energy, Orsted, Outfox the Market, People’s Energy, Pozitive Energy, Sinq Power, Symbio Energy, Vattenfall Energy Trading and Yü Energy.

Germany: Vattenfall's Plans for New Biomass Plants in Berlin Threaten Forests and Climate Targets

Biofuelwatch | November 22, 2021

A coal exit in Berlin and elsewhere is long overdue. It must be part of an energy transition that reduces greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible. Global warming has long progressed too far for us to be able to afford a “transition phase” with other CO2-intensive forms of energy. This includes natural gas, but also wood biomass, especially if it comes from forests and tree plantations.

Germany: Vattenfall wants to greenwash itself

Greenpeace Germany | June 20, 2017

Vattenfall's new advertisement with the slogan "Hamburg fills up on green electricity" gives the impression that Vattenfall is supplying Hamburg with green electricity. In reality, however, more than 90 percent of the electricity produced by Vattenfall in Germany comes from burning coal...

Germany: Coal for Art

Felix Werdermann | Der Freitag | April 26, 2013

Environmental activists stormed an art exhibition at the Berlin Gallery. The reason: It is financed by the energy company Vattenfall.

Sweden: Vattenfall won the Climate Greenwash Award 2009

Sverige Radio | January 20, 2010

Last year, Sweden's Vattenfall received the award as the largest greenwasher by a number of environmental organizations that handed out the award - Friends of the Earth, Attac and Climax.

Sweden: Activists dump tonnes of coal in Vattenfall protest

The Local | October 28, 2009

Activists from Greenpeace dumped 18 tonnes of German coal in front of Sweden’s government offices in Stockholm on Wednesday as a protest against Swedish state-owned coal plants abroad.

Denmark: Activists try to close coal plant

Lars Borking | Information Denmark | September 26, 2009

Activists from the group Shut it Down have announced their plans in advance. Today they will try to enter the coal piles at the Amager plant in Copenhagen to block the conveyor belt - and thus temporarily stop the plant's operation

Germany: Protest against new Vattenfall open pit plans

Claudia van Laak | Deutschlandfunk | December 16, 2008

In Lusatia, in Brandenburg, the energy company Vattenfall is planning to develop new opencast mines to mine lignite. The environmental groups don't like that, which is why they have launched a referendum to stop Vattenfall.

Germany: Vattenfall is teaching environmental studies at Hamburg schools

Die Linke | June 14, 2008

With a lignite share of 63% in electricity production, Vattenfall is anything but a credible “climate protector”. Under the guise of climate protection, Vattenfall is carrying out “greenwashing” at Hamburg schools.

Germany: The Fallout Continues: Vattenfall Europe Boss Rauscher Resigns

Der Spiegel | July 18, 2007

Klaus Rauscher has stepped down as CEO of Vattenfall Europe, the biggest scalp so far to be claimed by the scandal over two nuclear accidents in northern Germany.

Employment Practices
& Relations
Germany: Trial before the Hamburg Labor Court: Vattenfall does not want to pay

Andre Zuschlag | TAZ | October 19, 2022

The Swedish energy group Vattenfall simply does not want to back down: After the group lost in the Hamburg labor court against the group's works council chairman in Germany, Rainer Kruppa, Vattenfall has now appealed against the verdict, according to IG Metall.

Germany: Reversing the privatization of the power grid: A small win against energy giants

Erik Peter | TAZ | October 25, 2018

More than four years after the start of the procurement procedure for the Berlin power grid, a decision on a new operator is within reach. On Thursday, the Berlin Court of Appeal rejected the complaints of the Swedish state-owned company Vattenfall against the procurement procedure.

United Kingdom: Concern over impact of Norfolk Boreas offshore windfarm on seabirds

Helena Horton | The Guardian | December 9, 2021

The windfarm, which is to be built by the Swedish firm Vattenfall, has also faced complaints from people in Norfolk, who say the vast cabling required to construct the project would be disruptive to their homes. Some 85 parish councils have written to BEIS to express opposition to the plans.

United Kingdom: RMT union criticises Vattenfall

Tom Russell | 4C Offshore | January 13, 2021

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) based in the UK has criticised Vattenfall Wind Power, a subsidiary of Swedish energy giant Vattenfall, over alleged threats to ‘fire and re-hire’ to members.

Sweden: Vattenfall faces scrutiny for coronavirus letter

Victor Emil Kristensen | EnergyWatch | April 23, 2020

A Swedish industrial committee has summoned three companies to face scrutiny for their actions during the Covid-19 pandemic. These enterprises include Jernhusen, Swedavia and, not least, Vattenfall. Politicians accuse the three state-owned firms for having acted as goulash barons by profiteering off the unfortunate situation by using their size to pressure subsuppliers and customers.

Germany: Lignite Mining in Lusatia - An Environmental and Cultural Catastrophe

The Greens/EFA | February 25, 2015

Lignite - also known as 'brown coal' - is a low grade form of coal formed from compressed peat. Considered the most polluting form of coal, it is mined on a vast scale in Eastern Germany by Swedish state-owned energy firm Vattenfall. Indeed, CO2 emissions from Vattenfall's German operations exceed those of the whole of Sweden.

Germany: Hamburg at forefront of global drive to reverse privatisation of city services

Claire Provost & Matt Kennard | The Guardian | November 12, 2014

And with a narrow majority, Germany’s second-largest city voted to take all available steps to completely take over the electricity, gas, and district heating networks that it had sold to Vattenfall and German energy company E.On only decades earlier.

Germany: Vattenfall workers demonstrate against job cuts

Westdeutsche Zeitung | May 7, 2013

Several thousand employees of the energy company Vattenfall demonstrated in Berlin against the planned job cuts and for higher incomes.

Controversy at biomass-producing company in Liberia

SOMO | November 10, 2011

Several Liberian farmers and charcoal producers experience harmful effects of the operations of Buchanan Renewables, a company that produces biomass of which Swedish electricity giant Vattenfall is part owner.

Sweden: Vattenfall chair goes over CEO pay scandal

The Local Sweden | March 18, 2011

Lars Westerberg, the chair of the board of Swedish state-owned energy firm Vattenfall, is to be replaced after revelations concerning extra remuneration to the outgoing CEO.

German unions fight outsourcing in Swedish energy company Vattenfall - Strike action threatened

European Public Service Union | March 7, 2006

“Vattenfall Europe is letting workers bleed to ensure its profits remain high. We can not accept that 5000 workers are outsourced and that the collective agreement will not apply”, says EPSU Deputy General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan.


Corporate Headquarters
169 56 Solna, Evenemangsgatan 13, Sweden
Most Recent Gross Revenue
SEK 239 billion (US$21.98 billion) | source
Most Recent Net Revenue
SEK 27 million (US$2.48 million) | source
Major Funders

BankTrack's profile of Vattenfall.

Netherlands-based BankTrack tracks the involvement of commercial banks in financing business sectors and specific activities with a negative impact on people and planet.

Major Shareholders

Vattenfall is 100% owned by the Swedish state.

Political Influence
Hydrogen Hype Bubbles Over At German Gas Lobby Conference

Phoebe Cook | DeSmog | June 16, 2023

One of Germany’s most influential lobby groups, BDEW’s members include utilities Uniper, RWE and Vattenfall, as well as grid operators and dozens of smaller municipal utilities, who together account for 90 percent of gas sold in Germany. Last year, BDEW spent more than seven million euros on lobbying the German government, official records show. 

Fossil Fuel giants are shaping the EU’s response to the energy crisis

Corporate Europe Observatory | May 11, 2022

Minutes reveal that CEOs of six big energy companies – Shell, BP, Total, ENI, E.ON and Vattenfall – met President Von der Leyen and Energy Commissioner Simson the day they released their RePowerEU communiqué laying out the EU’s response to Ukraine.

Germany: Lobbying: Paid to prevent progress

Cindy Baxter | Heinrich Böll Stiftung | November 18, 2015

In 2007, when Chancellor Angela Merkel took over the EU presidency and hosted a G8 summit on the Baltic coast, the German government had previously appointed the Swede Lars Göran Josefsson as one of two climate-protection advisors. At the time, Mr Josefsson was the boss of Vattenfall, the largest energy company in the European Union and the owner of lignite power plants in Lusatia, in eastern Germany.

Germany: Lobbying and Climate - Vattenfall is influencing opinions on lignite mining in Lusatia

Christina Deckwirth | Lobby Control | April 25, 2014

In this politically hot phase, Vattenfall is spending a lot of money to convince the region of the blessings of lignite mining with expensive PR measures to influence political decisions.

Tax Havens
& Evasion
Czech buyers of German coal plants linked to Panama Papers

Megan Darby | Climate Home News | April 8, 2016

Swedish utility Vattenfall poised to sell dirty lignite operations to Czech billionaires who used offshore accounts to buy yacht and property.

Major Projects
Germany: Environmentalists criticize Vattenfall's district heating strategy

Joachim Fahrun | Morgenpost | July 19, 2023

Environmentalists from Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) are very critical of Vattenfall's plans to convert Berlin's district heating system. The state of Berlin should take over the system.

Germany: Shutting down the Moorburg coal-fired power plant is a success for the climate movement

Robin Wood | July 7, 2021

Today, Hamburg's coal-fired power plant Moorburg will be finally decommissioned. ROBIN WOOD sees this as a success for the climate movement and environmental organizations, which have campaigned against the climate killer for many years with a variety of forms of protest and action.

Vattenfall to become minority shareholder of Estonian nuclear energy start-up company Fermi Energia

Vattenfall | May 31, 2021

Vattenfall has signed an agreement with the Estonian nuclear energy start-up company Fermi Energia in order to become a minority shareholder of the company with a seed investment of Euro 1 million.

Netherlands: Vattenfall puts plan to build NL’s biggest biomass power plant on ice

Dutch News | June 25, 2020

Swedish state-owned energy company Vattenfall has decided to postpone plans to build the Netherlands’ biggest biomass fired power station because of the ongoing discussion about how green biomass actually is.

Germany: Vattenfall move: Massive criticism of the land deal

Abendblatt | March 28, 2019

According to the Abendblatt, the sale price for the area in the Elbbrücken district is around 23.6 million euros. There was no invitation to tender for the approximately 3,650 square meter site. It was awarded directly to Vattenfall.

Germany: Vattenfall agrees to shut two German lignite plants

Johan Ahlander | Reuters | October 26, 2015

Swedish utility Vattenfall said on Monday it had agreed to phase out two lignite coal plants in Germany as part of government plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions.


CorpWatch is still gathering procurement data on Vattenfall at this time.

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