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.
- The polluter is king: the failure of the energy market in The Netherlands by Jilles Mast & Lavinia Steinfort/Transnational Institute (TNI) (2021)
- The Role of Public Participation in Energy Transitions by Ortwin Renn, Frank Ulmer & Anna Deckert (2020)
- Black Book Vattenfall-Leaks: In the hands of gamblers by Greenpeace Germany (2018)
- Investment-related Dispute Settlement: Towards Comprehensive Accountability and Inclusive Access to Remedy by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) & International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (2017)
- Energy You Want? Vattenfall's Dark Side by Urgewald (2016)
- TTIPing Away the Ladder: How the EU-US trade deal could undermine the Sustainable Development Goals by Trade Justice Movement (TJM) (2015)
- Up in flames: How biomass burning wrecks Europe’s forests by Fred Pearce/Fern (2015)
- A new look at land-grabs in the global South linked to EU biomass policies by Almuth Ernsting (2014)
- The German Nuclear Phase-Out Put to the Test in International Investment Arbitration? Background to the new dispute Vattenfall v. Germany (II) by Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder & Rhea Tamara Hoffmann/Transnational Institute (TNI) (2013)
- Bursting Brussels' Bubble: the battle to expose corporate lobbying at the heart of the EU by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation in the EU (ALTER-EU) (2010)
- The Curse of Coal: Our coal consumption causes diseases, pollution, and poverty in Colombia by DanWatch (2010)
- Climate Summit Inc by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) (2009)
- Trouble on the Theun-Hinboun: A Field Report on the Socio-Economic and Environmental Effects of the Nam Theun-Hinboun Hydropower Project in Laos by Bruce Shoemaker (1998)
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.
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
- Business and Human Rights Resource Centre's profile on Vattenfall & Vattenfall Wind Power Ltd (subsidiary) - UK-based Business and Human Rights Resource Centre is an NGO that employs researchers on five continents who work with activists, companies and governments alike to advance human rights in business by eradicating abuse.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Extinction Rebellion
- International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR)
- ISDS Bilaterals
- The Forests, Climate and Biomass Working Group (EPN)
- Transnational Institute (TNI)
- World Rainforest Movement
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
- Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
- ECT's Dirty Secrets
- Europe Beyond Burning
- Europe Beyond Coal
- European Public Service Union (EPSU)
- Citizens' Initiative for Forest Protection (BBIWS)
- Coal Exit Berlin
- Ende Gelände
- Environmental Action Germany
- Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND)
- IG Metall
- IG Mining, Chemicals, Energy (IGBCE)
- Institute for Ecology and Action Ethnology (INFOE)
- Nature Conservation Union Germany (NABU)
- Nature Lovers in Germany
- Mountain Forest Project
- Our Hamburg Our Grid
- Robin Wood
- Save the Rainforest
- United Services Trade Union (Ver.di)
- Working Group Rainforest and Species Conservation (ARA)
- Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)
- Clean Air Committee
- Mobilisation for the Environment
- Pax for Peace
- Sustainable Village Diemen
- Global Justice Now
- National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT)
- Norfolk Parish Movement
- Trade Justice Movement
- DanWatch - Denmark
- Dogwood Alliance - USA
- Fridays For Future Sweden
- Nature Association - Finland
- Protect the Forest Sweden
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
Abendblatt | April 14, 2008
The energy company is suing over an outstanding permit for the controversial coal-fired power plant in Hamburg-Moorburg.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Netherlands-based BankTrack tracks the involvement of commercial banks in financing business sectors and specific activities with a negative impact on people and planet.
Vattenfall is 100% owned by the Swedish state.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 | 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.
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.
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.
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.