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13th Laure Waridel Bursary recipient will shed light on greenwashing

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Équiterre and the Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins are proud to announce the recipient of the 2023 Laure Waridel Bursary, Julien Olivier Beaulieu, a master's student in economics.

He has been awarded a $10,000 grant to support his research project on greenwashing, which will translate into a research report, practical guides as well as training and outreach events. Julien Olivier Beaulieu's project is aimed at tackling environmental disinformation and helping consumers to make more informed decisions. His project was chosen among many other inspiring projects submitted for this 13th edition of the bursary.

2023 Laure Waridel Bursary winner Julien Olivier Beaulieu, a master's student in economics, is pictured here with Colleen Thorpe, Executive Director of Équiterre, Laure Waridel, co-founder of Équiterre, Martin-Pierre Nombré, Director of Strategic Development at the Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins, and Jean-Philippe Waaub, member of the Laure Waridel Bursary Selection Committee.

Misleading environmental claims?

The goal of Julien Olivier Beaulieu's project is to provide Quebecers and Canadians with better tools for detecting greenwashing. While many companies advertise environmentally-friendly products, some use this marketing technique to conceal polluting activities. The public needs to be aware of the tools at their disposal to unmask false eco-responsible claims and put a stop to the spread of false information. With Julien's practical guides, consumers will have the means to identify distorted facts and will better understand how to claim compensation for any resulting damage. Regulatory advice will also be provided to organizations, giving them the best procedures to adopt in order to minimize the risks of falsely labeling a product as "green".

Greenwashing: an important issue for Équiterre

To counter greenwashing, Équiterre is helping contribute to the reform of the Competition Act — an important step towards strategically integrating environmental protection into legislation and thus addressing the climate crisis. Advertising regulations come with many potential co-benefits, such as corporate accountability and improved social well-being.

We still have a long way to go to regulate the advertising of polluting products, and to understand the socio-environmental impact of labeling products with environmental claims. Équiterre therefore warmly welcomes the educational work that will be done by the 13th Laure Waridel bursary recipient.

Continuity for the Laure Waridel Bursary

Created in 2008 by Équiterre and the Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins, this $10,000 bursary aims to encourage the dissemination of research in Équiterre's main areas of intervention, and to recognize the exceptional contribution of Laure Waridel, co-founder of Équiterre in 1993, to the advancement of environmental and social issues.

The funds help students disseminate their environmental and social research findings and inspire their fellow citizens to take action. See the list of winners over the years.

Find out more about the bursary and its history

The Caisse d'économie solidaire resolutely committed

Transforming society for the common good. As the leading financial institution specializing in social economy for over 50 years, the Caisse mobilizes the funds of its citizen members, collective enterprises and social movements to support projects that generate positive economic, social and environmental benefits.