2023 was a record year for the Swiss Commission for Fair Trading

Never before has the SLK conducted so many complaints procedures as in 2023. The SLK's decision in connection with the communication of a major sports association attracted worldwide attention. However, the new "Green Marketing" guidelines drawn up by the SLK were also received with interest.

At the annual meeting of the Foundation for Fairness in Commercial Communications, the Board of Trustees approved the 2023 activity report of the Swiss Fairness Commission SLK. In 2023, a total of 124 complaints procedures were conducted - 40 percent more than in the previous year.

In the last three years, the number of complaints procedures has remained at a high level. The long-term average number of complaints procedures is around 90 per year. The SLK has approved just over half, around 54%, of the complaints. This represents a slight increase compared to previous years.

Most complaints in the food/beverage sector

Most complaints revolved around classic consumer topics. At 14%, the food/beverages sector recorded the highest proportion of complaints, followed by the home/garden (10.5%) and leisure/tourism/hotel/restaurant (9.9%) sectors. There was an increase in complaints compared to the previous year in the pharmaceutical/health and alcohol/tobacco sectors.

In terms of media, the internet/email remains by far the frontrunner (37.6%), followed by direct marketing (23.8%) and out-of-home advertising (9.5%). Social media, which has only been measured separately since 2021 and accounts for around 8.5% of all complaints this year, has seen a steady increase in the number of complaints.

International interest in complaint about climate neutrality of a sports tournament

The fact that the Fairness Commission has upheld a complaint against a sports association's communication about the climate neutrality of a sports tournament has caused an international stir. Media around the world reported on this decision. It has now become legally binding.

The public also responded with interest to the new directive on the "Commercial communication with an environmental focus / with environmental arguments"which the SLK has drawn up. It clarifies which requirements must be met if a company advertises with environmental arguments, i.e. engages in green marketing.

Once again, the activity report lists individual, exemplary decisions. It should be noted that the complaints procedure before the Fairness Commission is a simple, summary procedure in which there is no extensive taking of evidence as in the state courts.

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