AUDIO (9:55) | Feds revamp stance on idling after meeting with drive-thru group | Tim Hortons Greenwash

CBC AUDIO.

In case you missed it the first time.

We are sending this out as there are many new councillors across the country that have recently taken on this issue.

This strategy of “manufacturing scientific uncertainty” comes directly from the industry’s denialism playbook. The industry invests big money for public relations campaign to raise doubts about the increasingly definitive scientific evidence. They realize that if you could argue about the science, then you can stop municipalities from trying to address the problem. If the new ‘science’ which is bought and paid by industry doesn’t work, they fall back on the argument of ‘choice’ – whatever the risk to society, it the citizens right to do so. This is just another example of industry’s scientific consultants who specialize in product defense. Not unlike tobacco, oil and climate change. Corporate spin experts have recognized that manufacturing doubt works and if they do it well they can stop government legislation, or at least slow them down for years. This is a growing trend that disingenuously demands proof over precaution in the realm of public health.

AUDIO: Reporter Giacomo Panico discusses the details on CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning

http://cbc.ca/ottawa/media/audio/ottawamorning/20080811drive.ram

Feds revamp stance on idling after meeting with drive-thru group

Last Updated: Monday, August 11, 2008 | 11:35 AM ET

CBC News

A federal government website that highlights the negative health and environmental effects of idling your engine has revamped its message after meeting with a group representing drive-thru restaurants.

‘It’s gonna make it harder for every city politician to make the argument that we need to have restrictive legislation on idling.’— Ottawa Coun. Clive Doucet

The “Idle-Free Zone,” a website managed by Natural Resources Canada’s office of energy efficiency, was removed for review following a meeting with the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. A revised version was posted five months later, on July 22, that:

  • Advises drivers to shut off their engines after 60 seconds of idling; the previous version advocated turning engines off after 10 seconds.
  • Does not refer to 5,000 premature deaths annually in Canada linked to air pollution, as the previous version did, and no longer includes posters bearing images such as a girl choking and slogans such as “Idling is killing our environment.”

The website says its purpose is to help communities and environmental groups stop engine idling.

Carol Buckley, director general of the office of energy efficiency, confirmed that the restaurant association met with Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn on Feb. 7.

According to Lunn’s spokeswoman, Louise Girouard, no one from the office of energy efficiency attended the meeting. Girouard confirmed that an e-mail was sent from Lunn’s office on Feb. 8 asking the site to be taken down.

Buckley said the site was temporarily removed because the office didn’t want to leave any misleading information online while it was being revised.

“We wanted to make sure that the website reflected all of the latest data and information that was available about this topic,” she said, adding that in the end the changes were “not really significant.”

The change to the recommended amount of idling time was made because of access to new research taking into account the wear and tear on a car’s battery and starter caused by shutting off and restarting the engine, she said. Previously, the site said such wear and tear was minimal.

The new site now also refers readers to Health Canada instead of detailing the health impacts of idling because Natural Resources felt that wasn’t really their jurisdiction and they wanted to focus on the effects on climate change, Buckley added.

“I think the emphasis in the earlier text was a little strong. Today’s vehicles are more efficient when it comes to smog emissions,” she said.

Site ‘lacks balance’: restaurant group

Joyce Reynolds, executive vice-president for government affairs for the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said the group corresponded with a number of government officials at various levels about the website, which was used by many municipalities to develop their own anti-idling bylaws.

‘What I would like to see is that Natural Resources Canada put the same amount of emphasis on these other driving behaviours that they do on idling.’— Joyce Reynolds, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

“Our concern is that municipal decision-making must be based on facts and scientific evidence,” she said. “And we were seeing some municipalities that were focusing on the health impacts of idling based on information that was incorrect and misleading.”

The association argues Natural Resources Canada didn’t put enough weight on pollution caused by a puff of contaminants produced when an engine is restarted after being shut down.

Reynolds said some of that misleading information on the “Idle-Free Zone” site has now been corrected, but the site still “lacks balance.”

In particular, she said, it doesn’t deal with other driving behaviours that cause greenhouse gas and pollution emissions, such as excessive speeding, rapid acceleration and poor vehicle maintenance.

“What I would like to see is that Natural Resources Canada put the same amount of emphasis on these other driving behaviours that they do on idling,” Reynolds said.

With regards to idling, the changes to the site will have an impact on municipalities, Ottawa city Coun. Clive Doucet said.

“It’s gonna make it harder for every city politician to make the argument that we need to have restrictive legislation on idling. It’s not good news for cities anywhere,” said Doucet, who pushed hard for an anti-idling bylaw in Ottawa.

A bylaw banning idling for more than three minutes in Ottawa went into effect on Jan. 1, 2008.

With the aim of reducing pollution from idling cars, a number of cities in Canada — including London, Ont., North Vancouver and Sarnia, Ont. — are thinking about making it tougher for restaurants to build new drive-thrus.

Gordon Taylor, an engineering consultant who has done air-quality studies for Natural Resources Canada, suggested that the restaurant association could be taking another approach to deal with criticism of drive-thrus.

“I think the restaurant association should have some kind of a pro-active campaign to say, ‘Hey, if there’s a big long lineup, consider walking in the door.’ ”

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/08/11/ot-drivethru-080811.html

Tim Hortons Drive-thru Threat Heats Up | Greenwashing at it’s Best in Comox Canada …

timcomoxgreenwash

U.S. Corporation Tim Hortons Supercedes Government Again – This Time Municipal

Tim Hortons Cross-checks City Into Submission

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 11.13.08

tim hortonThe late Tim Horton never let anyone push him around, and neither does his eponymous coffee chain. They just body-checked and high-sticked the City of Toronto into submission on its plans to reduce waste, so much of which comes from that one hugely successful chain.

The City calls it a “compromise”.

“This allows industry and leaders like Tim Hortons to sit down with the city on how we are actually going to reduce the volume of garbage going into our garbage dumps,” said committee chairman Glenn De Baeremaeker “How do we get 365 million coffee cups out of the garbage stream and into the recycling stream?”

Simple. You dump them on his doorstep. But Timmy stomped his skates and refused to change his cups or lids, or to contribute to the three million dollar cost of recycling machinery to separate them. And for some reason, he got his way.


More on Garbage from Tim Hortons:

Business Enraged at Toronto Proposals for Reducing Waste
Time For Canadians to Boycott Tim Hortons

Denialism | Restaurant industry commends St. John’s City Council on drive-through decision

Restaurant industry commends St. John’s City Council on drive-through decision

    ST. JOHN'S, Jan. 20 /CNW/ - The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices
Association (CRFA) commends City Council in St. John's, Newfoundland for
taking a co-operative, consultative approach on solving traffic problems and
rescinding its ban on drive throughs.
    City Council lifted the two-week-old moratorium on drive-through outlets
on Monday.
    "Restaurant owners that operate drive throughs are very sensitive to the
needs of the community when it comes to traffic congestion, and want to work
with municipalities to help solve any issues," says Luc Erjavec, CRFA Vice
President for Atlantic Canada. "We are delighted that St. John's will work
with us to solve the problems instead of banning drive throughs."
    Business owners are typically required to do rigorous site planning and
traffic pattern studies before requesting permission to build a drive through.
Older sites, however, often need updating to handle traffic congestion and
customer demand.
    "Occasionally an outlet is the victim of its own success," Erjavec says.
"As more customers come to the outlet, some site adjustments may be needed to
meet the increased demand."
    Tim Hortons Senior Vice President/Atlantic Region John Montgomery says
his company is always willing to work cooperatively with any community that is
facing a traffic issue.
    "We don't want customers waiting in the drive-through line a minute
longer than necessary or lineups spilling out on to the street impeding
traffic," Montgomery says. "There are many options available to speed up
customer service and reduce traffic congestion, such as restructuring parking
lots or re-routing drive-through lanes."
    Montgomery says drive throughs provide an important service to the
community, particularly for those who may face challenges going into the
restaurant such as people who are mobility impaired, parents with young
children, the elderly or people who are in unfamiliar areas late at night or
in bad weather.
 
For further information: Luc Erjavec, CRFA Vice President, Atlantic
Canada, (902) 209-0804 or lerjavec@crfa.ca; Jeni Armstrong, CRFA
Communications Specialist, (416) 649-4254 or jarmstrong@crfa.ca

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/January2009/20/c9065.html

Tim Hortons Continues to Lead in Denialism & Greenwash Tactics in Canada

Group raises doubts over drive-thru study

December 15, 2008


RECORD STAFF
KITCHENER

Tim Hortons stands by its study of pollution from idling vehicles in drive-thrus, despite a withering critique by the city’s environment committee.

A meeting of the city’s environmental advisory committee on Thursday included a harsh analysis of the company’s study on vehicle emissions at drive-thrus.

“It is not a scientific study, it is a piece of marketing and public relations,” committee member Bob McColl said.

Tim Hortons Inc. retained Guelph-based RWDI to study pollution from vehicles waiting in drive-thru lines.

It concluded the emissions from vehicles waiting in drive-thru lines were less than from cars that had been turned off for a few minutes and then restarted.

But McColl said only five locations out of 3,000 were studied. The study also compared vehicle emissions to “everyday sources” such as a 16-horsepower snowblower and an 11-horsepower chainsaw.

McColl said such engines are rarely used, giving the comparison little relevance.

And a small sample size can have a high margin of error, McColl said.

“These are some of the shortcomings in the report. They are enough to foster skepticism in me,” McColl said.

Tim Hortons Inc. had the study done after learning that Kitchener had joined a growing list of cities that considered tighter restrictions or even outright bans on new drive-thrus.

Nick Javor, senior vice-president of corporate affairs for Tim Hortons Inc., said the RWDI study is absolutely a scientific study.

“The breadth of analysis and range of sensitivities studied deal with any concerns raised about the number of stores in the study. Also, high-volume locations at rush hours were studied,” Javor said in an e-mail.

He defended the comparisons of emissions from chainsaws and snowblowers.

“Readers need to understand the order of magnitude and scale,” Javor said. He noted the study was peer reviewed and is currently under consideration for publication in a scientific journal.

“This all suggests that the study is worthy of broader consideration,” Javor said.

The environment committee voted to pass along the RWDI study to city councillors as information.

The committee also supports changing the way drive-thrus are designed so that people do not have to walk through a line of waiting vehicles.

Tim Hortons and other quick-service restaurants will be encouraged to better promote the option of going inside rather than idling in a drive-thru.

A representative of the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel & Motel Association did not like that idea.

“Our windows at the front are how we draw customers in, so the recommendation is a little confusing,” Michelle Saunders, the association’s manager of government relations, said to the committee.

“I would simply say that drive-thrus are widely supported by the public,” Saunders said.

Alain Pinard, the interim director of planning, listened to the critique of the RWDI study, but noted that city staff do not have the expertise to wade into this field of scientific inquiry. That is best left to peer-reviewed journals, Pinard said.

City staff will watch for reactions after the study is published and exposed to more experts in the field.

Pinard called the RWDI study a good start, but said city staff need more information before public policy decisions are based on it.

“We are not experts,” Pinard said.

Some committee members were openly disappointed, having hoped for a crackdown on drive-thrus and a ban on new ones.

“We know cars pollute,” committee member Nirala Sonder said.

“We asked that there be no new drive-thrus and that has not been addressed,” Sonder said.

http://news.therecord.com/News/Local/article/458994

Opinion | Drive-thru study isn’t convincing | The Record | Kitchener

Drive-thru study isn’t convincing

December 16, 2008

Tim Hortons has become as much of an esteemed Canadian institution as any corporate entity, but the company’s environmental policy doesn’t have the same top-notch reputation.

The coffee shop chain is going to have to do better than present the type of report it released on drive-thrus if it expects both coffee drinkers and everyone else to take its commitment to the environment seriously.

Concerned about the possibility that Kitchener and other cities could set tough rules or ban drive-thrus at coffee shops, Tim Hortons commissioned a report that said if cars shift from using drive-thru lanes to parking lots they will create more, not less, pollution. The report was prepared by a consulting company, RWDI of Guelph.

At the very least, this result seems to be counter intuitive. Skeptics may feel the report’s conclusions sound like the reports issued by the tobacco industry a few decades ago that denied a link between tobacco and cancer.

Sure enough, Kitchener’s environmental committee treated the report with scathing skepticism.

“It is not a scientific study, it is a piece of marketing and public relations,” committee member Bob McColl said. He wondered not only about the small number of locations used in the study but also about some of the comparisons in the report.

It compared emissions at a drive-thru with emissions made by a 16-horsepower snowblower and an 11-horsepower chainsaw. This comparison just confuses the issue.

What snowblowers and chainsaws do or do not emit has nothing to do with the question: Does taking a vehicle through a drive-thru produce more emissions than a vehicle that stops and starts in a parking space?

Perhaps the answer depends on the length of time a vehicle spends in a drive-thru.

Tim Hortons might even argue persuasively that the amount emitted at drive-thrus is small compared to all the emissions made by all vehicles, but its current strategy makes the company appear defensive. It would be wise to have an open mind and review its entire policy.

http://news.therecord.com/Opinions/article/459371

Tim Hortons | Lobbying against Environment | Conundrum

INFLUENCING CITY HALL

City watchdog set to probe coffee giant over lobbying

Firm’s spokesman argues he’s on city registry

Toronto’s lobbyist watchdog is investigating whether doughnut chain Tim Hortons – battling the city over a proposed environmental ban on its coffee cups – is following city hall’s new rules as the firm tries to influence councillors.

Lobbyist registrar Linda Gehrke, who oversees the online registry that tracks meetings between lobbyists and city officials, said yesterday she will investigate why Nick Javor, Tim Hortons senior vice-president of corporate affairs, does not appear on the city’s list as a registered lobbyist.

Ms. Gehrke, who said she is exercising leniency as the registry is still getting established, said a report in The Globe and Mail on Saturday that Mr. Javor was meeting with city councillors prompted her to look into the matter: “That was my first inkling that there was lobbying going on.”

In a brief interview in a corridor of councillors’ offices yesterday, Mr. Javor said his staff had told him he was a registered lobbyist and that he would look into the problem.

Tim Hortons has also hired consultant Kim Wright of lobbying firm Sussex Strategy Group – accompanying Mr. Javor yesterday – to help make its case against plans to force the chain to switch to coffee cups that the city’s recycling system can handle and to mandate a 20-cent discount for customers with their own mugs.

Ms. Wright is listed as a registered lobbyist for Tim Hortons, but her entry on the city’s website as of yesterday afternoon did not detail with whom she has met on the doughnut chain’s behalf.

Lobbyists have three business days after a meeting to update an entry. But Ms. Wright said that last Monday, she actually submitted a list of four councillors, all members of the works committee set to debate the recycling issue tomorrow. She said she didn’t know why the registry had not updated.

Ms. Wright also said the rules were unfair, since non-profit environmental groups are exempt.

The lobbyist registrar said it was “quite possible” that the fact the website was taken down Monday and part of Tuesday for a software update was the reason Ms. Wright’s entry was not updated.

Under the city’s complex rules, the question of whether Mr. Javor needs to be registered as a lobbyist could hinge on whether he attends meetings only as Ms. Wright’s client. According to Ms. Gehrke, if Mr. Javor was actively lobbying during these meetings, he should be registered as well.

But Mr. Javor has also had at least one phone conversation with a city councillor on his own. Councillor Frank Di Giorgio (Ward 12, York South-Weston) said yesterday that he returned a call from Mr. Javor on Friday about the issue.

Mr. Javor also met with Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38, Scarborough Centre) – the works committee chairman pushing for the coffee-cup changes – and Councillor Howard Moscoe (Ward 15, Eglinton-Lawrence) about a month ago, Mr. De Baeremaeker said, adding that he had assumed Mr. Javor was registered.

The new lobbyist registry website, which has been years in the making and was bogged down by delays and confusion as council slashed its budget, is the first of its kind run by a Canadian municipality. It was called for in the inquiry into the city’s MFP computer-leasing scandal. Bernie Morton, another lobbyist with Ms. Wright’s firm, actually helped city officials draft the rules.

Under the city’s lobbying rules, a representative of a corporation who tries to influence city officials without registering and properly disclosing the names of the officials being approached could face a fine of up to $25,000 if convicted for a first offence.

Meanwhile, three city councillors – Peter Milczyn (Ward 5, Etobicoke-Lakeshore), Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence) and Mr. Minnan-Wong – said they would push to have the works committee refer the city’s controversial packaging crackdown back to city staff in order to continue talks with the industry and draft a compromise.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081111.wtrash11/BNStory/National/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20081111.wtrash11