Heineken under criminal investigation for not switching to deposit cans in time
Heineken is facing a criminal investigation for not implementing the deposits on cans system by the April 1 deadline. Environmental organization Recycling Netwerk Benelux accused Heineken of breaking the Economic Offenses Act by “very calculatingly” putting its own economic interests above society’s. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) in Amsterdam saw sufficient leads to launch a criminal investigation, AD reports.
The deposit scheme for cans took effect in the Netherlands on April 1. Consumers pay an extra 15 cents when buying a canned beverage and get that money back when they return the cans. The law aims to reduce litter.
Days before the deposit law took effect, it became clear that Heineken had no intention of meeting the deadline and was still producing old cans. The beer giant claimed it was a misunderstanding - it thought there was a transition period of three months.
But according to AD, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate repeatedly told Heineken that this law had no transition period. The Inspectorate ordered Heineken to switch to deposit cans or face periodic fines. It accused the company of causing “ambiguity for the consumer and with that potential chaos in the shop and potentially even more litter.”
Heineken did switch to producing deposit cans after the cease and desist order. Still, Recycling Network Benelux saw the course of events as sufficient reason to press criminal charges against the company. According to the environmental organization, the brewer deliberately violated the law, and society has to pay for the damages it caused.
Recycling Network Benelux is pleased that the OM decided to launch a criminal investigation. “It seems to indicate that there is sufficient reason to think that Heineken deliberately violated the deposit regulation. Large companies are also not above the law, and we hope that this will be thoroughly investigated,” a spokesperson told AD.
Heineken told the newspaper that it looks forward to the investigation with confidence. “We see it as an opportunity to clarify the confusion that has arisen.”