FortisBC accused of ‘greenwashing’ in B.C. lawsuit

Click to play video: 'Lawsuit accuses FortisBC of deceptive marketing'
Lawsuit accuses FortisBC of deceptive marketing
A lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court is accusing Fortis BC of deceiving customers and threatening climate progress. – Mar 26, 2024

An environmental group is suing British Columbia natural gas utility FortisBC, accusing it of “greenwashing” its product through advertising, making the company seem more environmentally friendly than it is.

The lawsuit from the Stand Environmental Society alleges FortisBC’s ads exaggerate claims around the amount of renewable natural gas in its system when the majority of it is from fossil fuels.

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Documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court say Fortis misrepresents that the business and its products align with climate targets set by the province.

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The legal action says the company is wrongly implying that its products are cheaper than using electrical heat pumps and that its renewable natural gas product is certified carbon neutral, but even high-efficiency gas furnaces have higher greenhouse gas emissions than heat pumps.

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The lawsuit says FortisBC has committed “deceitful acts,” violated consumer protection laws, and asks a judge to order the company issue “corrective advertisements” and be prohibited from making the misrepresentations in future ads.

Fortis couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the lawsuit and none of the claims have been proven in court.

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