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 – Late last night, the Pathways Alliance scrubbed its website and social media in response to the passage of Bill C-59. This bill includes measures that help the Competition Bureau crack down on greenwashing by requiring companies to back up their environmental claims with solid proof.

The fact that Pathways Alliance has taken such drastic action shows that they know they don’t have evidence to support the story they’re selling on carbon capture, and that its member companies’ business plans don’t align with a net-zero future.

It’s clear that rules to rein in greenwashing are needed, and that C-59 is doing its job effectively if organizations like the Pathways Alliance are scrambling to take down their unsubstantiated environmental claims and rethinking their misleading advertising plans.

We look forward to seeing how this legislation reshapes the corporate landscape and holds companies accountable for their green promises.

Background Information:

  • The Pathways Alliance is a group of six of Canada’s largest oil sands producers. The group has been promoting itself and its oil sands company members as taking the initiative to fight climate change in multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns. The Competition Bureau is currently investigating one of their advertising campaigns for greenwashing. In 2023 they were the most active lobbyist in the fossil fuel sector, and are seeking over $15 billion in federal subsidies.
  • The Pathways Alliance claims to be able to address their emissions through the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology while continuing to expand production. According to a recent report by InfluenceMap, “Despite overwhelming advocacy for CCS, Pathways has raised contradictory concerns about the reliability of CCS technologies in more direct communications with policymakers and has opposed government mandates for CCS.” An International Energy Agency report highlights that CCS cannot be used to maintain the status quo. “Continuing with business-as-usual for oil & gas while hoping a vast deployment of carbon capture will cut the emissions is fantasy,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in late November 2023.
  • Bill C-59 was passed in May and 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. The Pathways Alliance has sent a letter to the members of the Senate voicing their concerns over the greenwashing requirements in Bill C-59.

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,