Statement by Emilia Belliveau, Energy Transition Program Manager

Montréal/Tiohtià:ke | Traditional, unceded lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka/Mohawk Nation, a gathering place for many First Nations, including the Anishinaabeg – We are disappointed that the Government of Alberta is attacking the federal government’s attempts to clamp down on greenwashing. On May 28th the House of Commons passed Bill C-59, which helps prevent greenwashing by requiring companies to provide evidence for their environmental claims. In response, Alberta’s  Minister of Environment and Protected Areas, Rebecca Schulz, attacked the bill, referring to it as an “undemocratic gag order.” Minister Schulz’s statement tries to create controversy out of legislation that simply demands companies tell the truth.

We’re not buying it. Greenwashing is a pervasive issue, and there should be consequences for companies lying about their green credentials. The important amendments made to Bill C-59 will help protect consumers from greenwashing and help tackle misinformation about the causes of and solutions to climate change. Alberta should not be siding with big polluters over the public.

Requiring companies to be able to prove their green claims is not a gag order, it is a commitment to telling the truth.

While laws and regulations with more teeth are needed to fight greenwashing, we celebrate the passage of Bill C-59 and applaud all the Members of Parliament who worked to amend and strengthen this bill.

Background Information:

  • Bill C-59 is now being studied by the Senate. Before it passed the House of Commons, important amendments were introduced. One change was to extend the obligation on companies to provide evidence for their environmental claims to include general claims about a company and their activities. Previously it had been limited to specific product claims. This is critical as more companies rely on broad sustainability values-based branding and vague climate-supporting statements, rather than the product they’re marketing or the merits of their environmental or climate record. For example, the Competition Bureau is currently investigating an advertising campaign by the Pathways Alliance that follows this approach. In fact, the Pathways Alliance sent a letter to the members of the Senate voicing their concerns over the greenwashing requirements in Bill C-59, with many of the same talking points as used by Minister Schulz.
  • Greenwashing is a type of false advertising. It’s when a company makes misleading or unsupported claims to seem more environmentally friendly than they are. The goal is to deceive consumers and the public. One example is when oil and gas companies try to market themselves or their products as environmentally friendly, despite fossil fuels being the main cause of the climate crisis.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Midhat Moini, Environmental Defence,