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RBC’s Climate Claims Being Investigated by Competition Bureau

Financial post | Barbara Shecter | Oct 12, 2022

greenwashing - RBC's Climate Claims Being Investigated by Competition Bureau

Image: Unsplash/Li-An Lim

The Competition Bureau has opened an inquiry into Royal Bank of Canada’s environmental representations and marketing following a complaint last summer that the bank’s claims to be a climate leader were misleading because of its continued financing of fossil fuel projects.

  • Claim:  A group of six individuals backed by environmental groups including Ecojustice and Stand.earth accused Canada’s largest bank of “greenwashing” by making bold claims about taking action on climate change while funding projects such as the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline in British Columbia.
  • Competition Bureau official saying that the commissioner “has commenced an inquiry.”  The letter said the inquiry “seeks to determine the facts relating to allegations that RBC has contravened the Act by making false or misleading environmental representations.” No timeline or further details were provided.

See:  A conversation with Catherine McKenna former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change: Fighting greenwashing

  • Ecojustice suggested that if the Competition Bureau’s inquiry finds that RBC’s statements are misleading and false, the bank could be forced to stop advertising itself as supporting the principles of the Paris Agreement and aiming to achieve net-zero emissions targets by 2050.
  • RBC strongly disagrees with the allegations in the complaint, and believes the complaint to be unfounded and not in line with Canada’s climate plan,” a spokesperson said in an email.
  • There is growing pressure from outside forces including regulators, shareholders, and international organizations to manage risks related to climate change. Canada’s largest banks find themselves in a unique position when it comes to environmental commitments, given that companies in the oilpatch have been longstanding and lucrative clients.

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