Be on the lookout for greenwashing
Some businesses promote their products or services as more enviro-friendly than they really are
January 26, 2022 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau
You want to shop green, but it’s not easy! As more Canadians demand products and services with a reduced environmental impact, some companies have responded with an increased supply of “green” products. But not every product is as “green” as it looks.
Along with this increase in “green” products, there has been an increase in false, misleading, or unsupported environmental claims, which are illegal in Canada.
This practice is called “greenwashing”. It can take many forms, including claims, adjectives, colours and symbols used to create an impression that a product or service is “greener” than it really is.
A global review led by the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network found that 40% of green claims made online could be misleading consumers.
If a company claims a product or service is “green”, take a moment to reflect on that claim.
When you’re shopping:
- Remember that while some “green” claims are true, others may be false, misleading, or unsupported by adequate evidence
- Be vigilant when you come across a vague or broad statement such as “eco-friendly” and “safe for the environment”. Without any further explanation of the claim, it might lead to misinterpretation and deception.
- Don’t be fooled by nature-themed images like water, clouds, plants, animals and earth, or colours used on packaging and in marketing
- When you see eco logos or labels make sure they are trustworthy
- Remember: all consumer goods have an impact on the environment, including those that claim to be "green"
If you have doubts about an environmental claim, don’t be afraid to reach out to the company and ask them questions. If you believe that a business may have made a false, misleading or unsupported environmental claim, report it to the Competition Bureau.
The Competition Bureau enforces laws that can address environmental claims that are false, misleading or not based on adequate and proper testing.
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The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that protects and promotes competition for the benefit of Canadian consumers and businesses. Competition drives lower prices and innovation while fueling economic growth.
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