12 December 2023

Sustainability and merger control - is green becoming a grey area?

Faced with the growing challenges raised by global warming, many observers have called on competition policy to play a greater role in the EU’s quest for a more sustainable economic model.

Earlier this year the European Commission published revised horizontal guidelines which specify the conditions under which cooperation agreements that deliver significant sustainability benefits may be exempted. This is in sharp contrast with merger control where no change to the current framework has been considered.

 In an article for Competition Law and Policy Debate, Tristan Lécuyer and Annabelle Leclercq assess the extent to which current EU merger control is well suited to deal with the impact that mergers may have on sustainability. They identify and review all EU merger decisions from the past 10 years which discuss sustainability and present some early lessons on the green theories of harm and green efficiency claims that were considered by the Commission. They show that the current framework focuses on direct consumers’ preferences and, as such, ignores externalities that mergers may have on sustainability. They therefore set out a potential analytical framework to take into environmental externalities in merger assessment, and discuss its feasibility in practice. 

Read the full article here. Please note access to this article is behind a paywall.

Our experience and expertise means our clients have the best chance of success before competition authorities and courts.

We have unrivalled experience across the full range of issues presented by competition law and related associated litigation.