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The past, present and future of green claims: key insights for practitioners and businesses – webinar

Author(s): Shuli Rodal, Richard J. King, Kelly Moffatt, Adam Hirsh

Oct 6, 2022

Putting yourself in the shoes of your customer in being able to clearly understand the green claim that you are making is a good way to protect yourself from a false or misleading claim. This was among the best practices shared during a recent webinar entitled “The past, present and future of green claims: key insights for practitioners and businesses”, hosted by Patrick Welsh, Osler’s ESG Practice Co-Chair and partner, Regulatory, Environmental, Indigenous and Land and Litigation. The presenters were Shuli Rodal, partner and Chair, Competition/Antitrust; Richard King, partner and Chair, Regulatory, Environmental, Indigenous and Land; Kelly Moffatt, partner and Chair, Advertising and Marketing; and Adam Hirsh, partner Litigation.

A green claim was defined as a claim that a product or service provides as a benefit for the environment or is less harmful. Often something will be described as eco or environmentally friendly or having reduced emissions. The representation is typically made either through newspapers or social media. Green claims are seen as powerful marketing tools.

Testing is suggested as a means of ensuring the accuracy of a green claim. The control conditions of the testing should replicate the situation in which the product is being used. Testing also should be done before the claim is made.

The webinar discussed a case settled earlier this year which demonstrates the risks of making false claims. A coffee company made claims regarding the recyclability of its single-use coffee pods. An investigation by the Competition Bureau found that the pods currently are not widely accepted in municipal recycling programs. As part of the settlement, the company was required to pay a $3 million penalty and publish corrective notices about the recyclability of its product.

Watch the full webinar