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Canada’s new greenwashing regulations have companies scrambling to erase statements that could be interpreted as greenwashing. The new rules were introduced in bill C-59 as part of a suite of changes to the Competition Act and tighten up the rules surrounding how sustainability claims can be made. In the wake of this law, Canadian oil companies are retracting many statements regarding ongoing carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects. reports on these retractions stating:

“a coalition of Canadian tar sands producers — the Pathways Alliance — had scrubbed its website of all content on June 19, in anticipation of changes to Canada’s Competition Act. The amendments require any organization making claims about the potential environmental benefits of their product, service, or project to provide evidence of those claims…

Pathways Alliance had been proposing a massive carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Alberta as its principal climate change mitigation strategy. Over the past year, the organization has engaged in a national media blitz promoting its project — including advertising on buses, trams, rental bikes, and bus shelters in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. This advertising campaign used slogans such as “The path to net zero begins with carbon capture and storage” – statements that Canadian environmental groups took issue with as they could be considered misleading or deceptive.”

In addition to information about CCS projects being pulled, oil and gas companies have also removed information relating to their emissions disclosures and the purported benefits of liquid natural gas.  The disappearance of this information could be viewed as companies exercising an overabundance of caution, however, some are interpreting this as a tacit admission that the underlying information was unreliable. Whether this information, or portions of it, will reappear remains unclear, but what is clear is that companies engaging in sustainability advertising in Canada will need to carefully study C-59 and its new anti-greenwashing provisions.

Our members can learn more about greenwashing here.

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The Editor

Zachary Barlow is a licensed attorney. He earned his JD from the University of Mississippi and has a bachelor’s in Public Policy Leadership. He practiced law at a mid-size firm and handled a wide variety of cases. During this time he assisted in overseeing compliance of a public entity and litigated contract disputes, gaining experience both in and outside of the courtroom. Zachary currently assists the editorial team by providing research and creating content on a spectrum of ESG… View Profile