A new website launched today by the corporate accountability group SumofUs.org asks ordinary Canadians to take a closer look at oilsands major Suncor‘s latest ad campaign, “What Yes Can Do.”
By launching their own version of the ad campaign at www.whatyescando.org, SumofUs.org is questioning the disparity between “what yes can do” as Suncor puts it, and “what yes has done” in the Alberta oilsands.
SumofUs.org points out Suncor’s green ad campaign, which emphasizes the corporation’s efforts to preserve “…an environment for generations to come,” doesn’t square with the company’s own lobbying effort to limit protections for the Athabasca River.
More than five years ago, a panel of experts recommended an end to water withdrawals from the Athabasca River during certain times of the year, when water levels are at their lowest. The cut-off would protect fish hatchlings and other aquatic life from dying off during low river flow.
All companies operating in the Alberta oilsands agreed to the recommended cut-off, but Suncor, along with Syncrude, are lobbying the Alberta government for an exemption.
Suncor’s overall water consumption continues to increase, as the SumofUs.org alternative “What Yes Can Do” website reports:
“Suncor claims it takes water consumption seriously and says it has drastically lowered its overall water withdrawals. In reality, its water consumption continues to climb. In 2012, its water use increased by 20 percent over…the previous year according to records contained in the Oil Sands Information Portal. By 2017, consumption is expected to further increase by 47 percent based on aggressive expansion plans.”
Campaign video from official Suncor “What Yes Can Do” website.
Spoof “What Yes Can Do” video launched by SumofUs.org.
SumofUs.org’s alternative campaign brings the pleasantries of corporate advertising into stark contrast with the difficult reality of oilsands development as it affects local water, the industrialization of the boreal forest, vanishing local caribou populations, and First Nation’s treaty rights.
It turns out what ‘yes can do’ is complex and acheiving our clean energy ambitions is going to involve meaningful carbon-emission reductions policies, responsible industrial growth that respects First Nations’ rights and ways of life, and evidence-based decision making from the industrial to the governmental level. And it will take us a lot more than just saying ‘yes’ to get there.