Lawyers call for framework for climate greenwashing

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Lawyers ask to frame climate-washing climate

Greenwashing is denounced all over the world, like here , the Netherlands.

A report from the Center québécois du droit de l'environnement (CQDE) calls for better regulation of climate change bleaching at a time when the expressions “net zero carbon footprint” and “carbon neutral” are more and more increasingly used by large companies.

Climate greenwashing is already abundant, according to the CQDE, which warns that due to the growing importance that Despite the fight against climate change for consumers as well as weak rules for businesses, companies' false or misleading declarations of their carbon footprint are likely to continue to grow rapidly in the months and years to come.

Lawyer Marc Bishai contributed to the CQDE report which will be published next week and of which The Canadian Press has obtained a summary.

More and more companies are announcing that they will achieve carbon neutrality by this or that year or that their product is carbon neutral. Afterwards, you have to be able to verify these statements to find out whether they are false or misleading and, to do this, you have to rely on a uniform and robust legal framework, but currently there are significant gaps in the legal framework. Canada and Quebec, Bishai said.

The report notes that consumer protection laws prohibit companies from making false or misleading statements but do not specifically address statements climate-related.

There's no guideline, there's no regulation right now that details what a climate statement should look like, Bishai said, adding that companies can declare that they will be carbon neutral without presenting a greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction plan or even proving that they actually account for their GHGs.

Among other recommendations, the CQDE suggests that companies be required to publicly disclose all evidence on which they base their climate claims as soon as they make those claims publicly available.

The report also recommends that law enforcement agencies, such as Canada's Competition Bureau and Quebec's Consumer Protection Office, proactively monitor statements made by companies instead. than relying primarily on complaints.

Questioned by La Presse canadienne about the recommendations of the CQDE, the Competition Bureau of Canada indicated that it could not comment on the report of the Center québécois du droit de l'environnement while specifying that x27;he[a] read it once it is published.

The Senior Communications Advisor of the Competition Bureau of Canada, Marie-Christine Vézina, has emphasized that the organization takes false or misleading environmental claims seriously.

In an email exchange, Ms. Vézina pointed out that her team recently reached an agreement with Keurig Canada that included a three million dollar penalty to address concerns over false environmental claims. or misleading to consumers.

She also cited various agreements with Volkswagen Group Canada, Audi Canada and Porsche Cars Canada that resulted in penalties of $17.5 million in connection with false or misleading environmental claims that were used to promote certain vehicles equipped with diesel engines. 2.0 and 3.0 litres.

On Tuesday, Canada's Competition Bureau hosted a Competition for Green Growth Summit attended by senior government officials from x27;competition regulators from Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

During the summit's opening address, Canada's Commissioner of Competition, Matthew Boswell, pointed out that greenwashing is on the rise and that the misleading promotion of “green” products is on the rise. harms consumers by limiting their ability to make informed decisions. It hurts businesses that compete fairly. And it harms the environment.

Several of the summit participants pointed out that the fight against greenwashing requires a lot of human and financial resources.

In addition to dealing with consumer complaints, a lot of time is spent to educate businesses about their responsibilities, said Laureen Kapin, deputy director of international consumer protection at the US Federal Trade Commission.

Along with several other participants, Ms. Kapin also stressed the importance of countries working together to share information to counter greenwashing.

The Last year, researchers from the University of Oxford published a study, titled Assessing the Rapidly-Emerging Landscape of Net Zero Targets, in which they analyzed self-defeating statements. of 4,000 countries, businesses and regional governments that together emit the majority of the planet's GHGs.

Researcher Thomas Hale's team has found that of the 769 countries, companies and regional governments that have carbon neutrality targets, only 152 have a credible plan and robust criteria for achieving their target.

Researchers from the University of Oxford have indicated that carbon neutrality targets now cover both x third of the global economy, but strong carbon neutrality targets only cover around 5%.

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