Back to Blogs

ESG Market in Canada Faces Greenwashing Risks Due to Poor Data

Published on Jun 15, 2022

Greenwashing is when an organization spends more effort and money on promoting itself as environment-friendly friendly than on reducing the negative effect it has on the environmental, Greenwashing is the practice of making a product or service look more environmentally friendly than it is. It refers to when a firm makes erroneous, unsupported, or outright false assertions or claims about the long-term sustainability of a product or service, or even about business operations in general. 

Greenwashing occurs when a company's management team makes incorrect, unsubstantiated, or downright deceptive assertions or claims about a product's or service's sustainability, or even about business operations in general. One of the most common causes of greenwashing is poor data quality. According to a recent analysis, "greenwashing" is threatening to flood the Canadian ESG industry. Investors are vulnerable to greenwashing due to the lack of transparency surrounding ESG data. 

According to a new survey, 4 out of 10 (Times Colonist) businesses use green advertising to deceive customers into buying everything from clothes and cosmetics to food. It is a deceptive marketing ploy used to deceive customers who like to purchase goods and services from environmentally conscientious companies. Some greenwashing is inadvertent due to management's lack of expertise or understanding, but greenwashing may also be done on purpose through marketing efforts. 

Why is Greenwashing a problem in the Canadian market? 

Greenwashing is when companies make false or misleading claims about their environmental performance to gain a competitive advantage. The market for ESG investments are expanding, but it risks becoming greenwashed due to a lack of data. While some corporations are open about their ESG policies and practices, others are not. Investors find it difficult to make educated judgments on where to place their money due to the lack of transparency. 

One of the main reasons for greenwashing in the Canadian ESG market is poor data quality.  Poor data and reporting standards make it difficult for consumers to know which products and services are truly eco-friendly. Lack of transparency can lead to greenwashing, where companies claim their products are more environmentally friendly than they are. 

This makes it difficult for investors to accurately assess a company's environmental performance and leads to false or misleading claims being made. It is a fundamental problem in the Canadian ESG market because it undermines investor confidence and makes it difficult for companies to compare their performance against their peers. 

1. Lack of data transparency is a concern 

Companies in Canada don't need to publish their ESG performance. Law hasn't made it mandatory for any company.  Because of this lack of openness, investors are unable to make educated judgments about where to put their money. 

2. Some companies are greenwashing their ESG performance 

Greenwashing is when a company misrepresents its environmental credentials to gain a competitive advantage. Many Canadian companies are guilty of this, as they know that investors are interested in investing in companies with strong ESG performance. However, without reliable data, it is impossible to know which companies are true and have presented the right information. 

3. ESG investing is still in its initial stages in Canada 

Despite all the obstacles, the Canadian market for ESG investing is expanding. Investors are becoming more aware of the need for responsible investment, and more firms are beginning to disclose their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. However, the ESG investing in the Canadian market has a long way to go.  

4. Unfamiliar with recent technology 

End investors who are unfamiliar with new terminologies and measures may feel that funds aspire to have a higher positive environmental effect than they do if they use unduly technical terminology to explain non-financial performance in ongoing reporting documents. 

5. Misrepresentation of information 

Greenwashing is traditionally seen as a behavior risk, comparable to wilful misrepresentation of financial items such as ESG funds. Customers must be treated properly, and communications must be clear, fair, and not misleading, according to long-standing legal obligations. These are critical components of greenwashing, and firms will have governance and control systems in place to achieve these requirements. According to a global study conducted 40% ( of green promises made online may be misleading to customers.

Reducing the risk of Greenwashing 

Many sectors of the economy, such as industry, agriculture, and energy, will require more yearly investment and much more labour to attain zero emissions by 2050, cut carbon emissions, and meet global warming objectives. Greenwashing is a critical problem since governmental organizations and regulators recognize that for this embryonic sector to continue to expand and prosper, investors must have faith in what products claim about their green credentials. 

With the growing belief that "green sells," there is a clear and growing demand for green or ESG-certified financial services goods and services. ESG funds are the fastest-growing category, reflecting rising investor interest in the market. Firms must consider reputational risk as well to retain good standing with regulators and avoid supervisory scrutiny or enforcement proceedings. 

There is worry regarding litigation risk, such as the possibility that a business may be sued by a customer or investor who claims to have been mis-sold, or that an activist organization would file a lawsuit against a significant financial services firm or group to get news attention. 

What can be done to combat greenwashing? 

Greenwashing can damage a company's reputation and credibility, and it can also lead to legal action. Additionally, it undermines public trust in environmental claims made by businesses, which could hamper the adoption of more sustainable practices overall. 

Better data and reporting requirements are required to verify that firms' environmental claims are truthful. Furthermore, businesses should be open about their environmental policies so that customers may make educated decisions about the products and services they acquire. 

Some steps can be taken to combat greenwashing in the Canadian ESG market, such as increasing transparency and disclosure, setting standards for data quality, and encouraging independent verification of claims. Greenwashing, according to industry practitioners, will become more prevalent as pressure on firms to enhance their ESG profiles increases the reputational consequences of not being perceived to do the right thing. 

Ways to combat greenwashing - 

  • Sustainable investment flows accelerating transparency, data quality, carbon disclosure, and standardized sustainability reporting are vital in de-risking the ESG sector for investors. 
  • Systematic regulatory approaches to ESG have many advantages, but not if they become mere tick box exercises, 
  • Corporate lawyers can expect to be increasingly engaged in each of the relevant aspects 
  • New systemic risks to the sustainable economy from low-quality transitional asset classes are also on the legal agenda 
  • The growth of ESG data sources will be a powerful weapon in the battle against greenwashing 
  • Data providers, regulators, and companies themselves are making strides to give asset managers more accurate information for their impact investments. 

An alternate solution would be to remove the stigma associated with failing to meet ESG and reporting standards. 

Also, Read - Green Trade Presents Major Opportunities for the UK Economy in 2022.


Greenwashing will not be tolerated in 2022 (Edie). When a company makes inaccurate or deceptive assertions about its environmental performance to attract investors, this is known as greenwashing. The Canadian market for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments is growing, but due to a lack of data, it risks becoming greenwashed. 

ESG investing is one of the most popular topics in the Canadian market right now. However, some companies are accused of "greenwashing" their operations. The companies falsely claim that they are more environmentally friendly than they are. This is often due to a lack of precise data on emissions, energy usage, and other important metrics. 

Others, on the other hand, are secretive about their environmental, social, and governance policies and practices. Due to a lack of transparency, investors find it difficult to make informed decisions about where to invest their money. In recent years, the Canadian government has made considerable progress in terms of enhancing data availability on ESG issues, but there is still more to be done. 

With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, SG Analytics, a pioneer in Research and Analytics, offers tailor-made services to enterprises worldwide.  

A leader in ESG Consulting services, SG Analytics offers bespoke sustainability consulting services and research support for informed decision-making. Contact us today if you are in search of an efficient ESG integration and management solution provider to boost your sustainable performance.