That legislation is Bill C-59, which would require companies to provide evidence to back up their environmental claims. It is currently awaiting royal assent.

As of Thursday, it was also what led the Pathways Alliance, a consortium of Canada’s largest oilsands companies, to remove all its content from its website, social media and other public communications.

  • mski
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    26 days ago

    Not a lawyer, but this seems (1) a ridiculous response by the Alberta Government, and (2) perhaps unnecessary wording in an amendment, since misleading claims are already covered under the Competition Act?

    The amendment to the competition act reads:

    (b.‍1) makes a representation to the public in the form of a statement, warranty or guarantee of a product’s benefits for protecting or restoring the environment or mitigating the environmental, social and ecological causes or effects of climate change that is not based on an adequate and proper test, the proof of which lies on the person making the representation; (b.‍2) makes a representation to the public with respect to the benefits of a business or business activity for protecting or restoring the environment or mitigating the environmental and ecological causes or effects of climate change that is not based on adequate and proper substantiation in accordance with internationally recognized methodology, the proof of which lies on the person making the representation; or

    And the current text of the Act reads:

    Misrepresentations to public 74.01 (1) A person engages in reviewable conduct who, for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, the supply or use of a product or for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, any business interest, by any means whatever (a) makes a representation to the public that is false or misleading in a material respect (b) makes a representation to the public in the form of a statement, warranty or guarantee of the performance, efficacy or length of life of a product that is not based on an adequate and proper test thereof, the proof of which lies on the person making the representation;

    So… my non-legal viewpoint is that making a misleading representation to the public is already covered by the competition act. The new wording clarifies the scope to explicitly include environmental misrepresentation (which seems completely fair given the amount of greenwashing we see - from consumer products through to natural resource extraction). The only potential challenge appears to be the “internationally recognized methodology”, especially where a methodology doesn’t exist. But in that case, perhaps companies should just refrain from making potentially misleading claims.

    The Alberta government is just following its playbook once again of trying to position the feds as the enemy of Alberta… Because that’s easier for them, than actually coming up with good ideas.

    • dgmib@lemmy.world
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      25 days ago

      I work in this space. My focus area is consequential GHG accounting specifically, which is the process of quantifying the impact a decision will have on GHG levels.

      There is an internationally recognized methodology for GHG emissions account and for most other things you’d make environmental claims about.

      Hard part is most of those methodologies were designed for voluntary compliance. They tend to allow lots of estimates and average when better data isn’t available, because for someone trying to do the right thing, estimating data is better than nothing.

      But that leaves a giant gaps in legislation like this because someone with incentive to do so can make generously optimistic assumptions that ridiculously overstate their environmental stewardship while still technically following the methodology.

      While I think it’s doubtful we’ll see any major improvements in reporting for a while. The bill is still a massive step in the right direction.

      And there’s hope for the methodologies getting better too. The leading methodology for calculating GHG emissions is currently being revised with a new version expected to be published next year. Current proposals being considered include dropping several notoriously inaccurate approaches, that could be used to make false or exaggerated claims.

      • mski
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        25 days ago

        Thanks for sharing your insights!

    • kbin_space_program@kbin.run
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      26 days ago

      My non-legal reading puts BC Hydro’s latest natrual gas ad at odds with it.

      They not only call it “not a fossil fuel” but also claim its a “renewable resource.”

      • mski
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        26 days ago

        Yep, that sounds like misrepresentation… Regardless of whether this amendment passes.

        I guess the exception being compost derived methane / biogas?

  • MapleEngineer
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    25 days ago

    That legislation is Bill C-59, which would require companies to provide evidence to back up their environmental claims. It is currently awaiting royal assent.

    “They’re censoring conservative speech!”

    You know, I’m old enough to remember when “conservative speech” didn’t mean “lies”.

    As of Thursday, it was also what led the Pathways Alliance, a consortium of Canada’s largest oilsands companies, to remove all its content from its website, social media and other public communications.

    Their entire website was unsupported by evidence?

    It sounds to me like the law is doing exactly what it was intended to do.

  • AutoTL;DR@lemmings.worldB
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    26 days ago

    This is the best summary I could come up with:


    As of Thursday, it was also what led the Pathways Alliance, a consortium of Canada’s largest oilsands companies, to remove all its content from its website, social media and other public communications.

    On its website, Pathways cites amendments to the Competition Act that would create “significant uncertainty” for Canadian companies that “want to communicate publicly about the work they are doing to improve their environmental performance.”

    “With uncertainty on how the new law will be interpreted and applied, any clarity the Competition Bureau can provide through specific guidance may help direct our communications approach in the future,” the website reads.

    The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, an industry group, wrote in a statement Thursday that it would also reduce the amount of information it makes available on its website and other digital platforms, until further guidance was made available.

    "Creating a public disclosure standard that is so vague as to lack meaning and that relies on undefined ‘internationally recognized methodology’ opens the door for frivolous litigation, particularly by private entities who will now be empowered to directly enforce this new provision of the Competition Act.

    The Calgary Chamber of Commerce wrote in a statement on Thursday that the amendments in Bill C-59 would limit disclosure of climate targets and ambitions to investors and financial markets.


    The original article contains 1,217 words, the summary contains 207 words. Saved 83%. I’m a bot and I’m open source!