October 22, 2021

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Everything to know about green trademarks

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This article is written by P Kameshwari who is pursuing a Certificate Course in Trademark Licensing, Prosecution and Litigation from LawSikho.

Table of Contents

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In the introduction, we will be first knowing about what Green Trademarks are, and their various examples. This article will further include what are the various Green Trademarks all over the globe and, how they work, how the Green Trademarks are used as a marketing strategy by the Companies and, why more companies and other organizations are adopting the Green Trademarks. Further, the need for the Green Trademarks shall also be covered here. We will understand the present scenario of Green Trademarks with the help of various examples. 

Green Trademarks are normal trademarks only that can be represented graphically and which distinguishes goods and services from other goods at the same time they promote the preservation of the environment and sustainable development. They highly discourage the very act of reducing the quality of the environment by polluting the air- water plants, lakes, rivers, animal habitats and various small organisms, in short, the biodiversity. Few examples of Green Trademark can be Earth choice by Domtar Paper which are eco-friendly papers, the products of the brand Honest Company which sells baby diapers body care and other household cleaning products are all eco friendly.

Ben and Jerry provide educational services seminars and workshops in the field of sustainable dairy farming. Greemmom Com. is an online retail store offering eco-friendly products in the USA. In India, Godrej is a very good example of Green Trademark as it reads Good and Green – Godrej which shows its commitment towards building a more inclusive and Greener India. 

There is a significant need for the Green Trademarks as Climate Change is a universal concern. We need eco-friendly products like paper plates, spoons, glasses that can be easily disposed of and do not become an obstacle to the environment and sustainable development of natural resources in any way. Here a very good quote is the move by India’s Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change issued a draft notification on 13 March, 2021 regarding a three-phased ban on the manufacture, sale and import and handling of single-use plastic items.

Now even in, India we have a variety of eco-friendly products some very good examples here can be food wrapping paper which is a very good substitute for the usual aluminum foils plates cups spoons bags made up of bamboo, there are toothbrushes which are made up of bamboo are antibacterial and waterproof there are eco-friendly chulas which consume less fuel and cook faster and they emit very low smoke keeping the kitchen and environment clean there can be eco-friendly pens that come up with different plants like sunflower marigold fenugreek ladyfinger tomato morning glory onion spinach beans there are eco-friendly fridge bags that are non-toxic and, ideal to store fruits and vegetables at the same time they can be washed and reused. Some more and exotic eco-friendly products can be checked here.https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/most-searched-products/combos/top-26-eco-friendly-products-to-make-your-life-better-in-2021/articleshow/80690430.cms

These days consumers are inclined towards climate change so, Companies have to learn to be green. That makes good business sense also. It is seen that in the USA alone consumers are spending on products and services which are environment friendly and, the estimate is more than billions. In India also, going green is a trend and a choice of lifestyle that millions of people are now adopting even in day-to-day life we have numerous eco-friendly products like a brush pen coffee teacups.

Even in Countries like Japan Australia U.K Netherlands Germany green brands are very much sold and used. There is corporate social responsibility (CSR) which became mandatory under section 135 of the Companies Act which states that companies of certain turnover and profitability have to spend two percent of their average net profit of the past three years. CSR includes certain categories like hunger and poverty education health gender equality and, environment.

CSR has taken initiatives to protect natural and renewable resources for sustainable development. As we are facing issues like depleting water level lack of clean air non-disposal of toxic and other waste. CSR activities also check the ecological balance which is to maintain a balance between the environment and living organisms, if this flow interrupts then it leads to various problems like overpopulation contagious diseases depletion of resources no management of the waste. Similarly, CSR aims at the protection of Flora and Fauna animal welfare forestry and, maintaining soil water and air.

Here one very good example to quote is of COCA COLA, which is a leading beverage company which took the mission of ”Alag Karo Har teen Din Bin ”which aimed at easy disposal of waste management and segregation of wet and dry garbage. It took the project in January 2017 in Gurugram with the partnership of the NGO Sahass Tetra pak and, GIZ.

Companies use the Green Trademark as a business strategy to promote and sell themselves. As in the west and Asia, the consumers are more concerned for the environment than the economic development and are willing to pay extra for green products. Not just that, reducing energy consumption cuts costs, influences investors and put companies ahead of legislation that is likely in future to direct companies to reduce their environmental impact.

Some international examples here can be Walmart, which announced carbon rating for all its electronic items Proctor and Gamble swears to produce greener and greener products Unilever pledged to reduce the waste and water consumption in its supply. In Brazil, Unilever and Walmart have built sustainable houses within the stores made from recycled products.

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Labels logos certification marks are used by the brand owners to show their green credentials and to boost their market share. A genuine eco-label offers consumers a guarantee that a product or service has been independently verified to meet environmental standards. Here some very good examples to quote are that in Australia GreenHouse Friendly label which is a registered certification mark administered by the climate change department. To display the mark products and services must pass a rigorous verification and certification process.

Here, I would like to state that various schemes are run by NGOs, consumer protection groups governmental agencies and industry associations. Like one more Australian certification mark is the Good Environmental choice label which is represented by an NGO. In the USA more than a billion products consisting of logo Energy stars have been sold after it was launched in the year 1992 by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. There are other companies like BASF and Philips which developed their eco-standards and product labeling. Philips launched its green logo and tick symbol to identify products with better energy efficiency.

Greenwashing is a term used for the brands which appear and claim to be green without any real basis. This has two disadvantages one is that the consumers get deceived and, that itself is harmful to the reputation of the brand. Vancouver-based consumer advice site called ecolabelling.org gives all information to consumers about all the green brands, who run them and what they mean.

Green trademarks play a vital role in preserving and improving the environment in the age of this modern technology. It has numerous benefits like less energy consumption, decreasing carbon emission in the air, easy recycling of materials, maintaining the ecological balance, keeping the air-water and soil clear. Like in the USA and Europe, Indian consumers are widely using recyclable products which are pro-environment like the given examples toothbrushes foil papers fridge bags pens papers plates cups, etc. As in the western countries in India also, people are ready to pay extra for green products and these are easily available also. Nowadays few start-ups have come up with innovative and eco-friendly business ideas.

A juice bar called EAT RAJA in Malleshwaram, Bangalore serves juices in the outer covering of the fruit itself as a cup by replacing the conventional idea of serving it in a plastic or any other container. Similarly, a cafe called Spin Cafe in Tolichowki, Hyderabad serves tea and coffee in edible coffee cups. These kinds of ideas should be encouraged and rewarded by the respective State Government. Certain essential products which are used in day-to-day lives like paper bags toothbrush chairs can be made with recyclable material and should be sold at a very economical price. So that more and more people can use them and contribute towards a quality environment.

Green trademarks are usual trademarks only but with a promise to save the depleting environment. Few examples to state here are the eco-friendly products that are widely sold online like toothbrush pen-paper bags etc. Now, in India, we have cars run by battery saving electricity consumption. Event Companies like Godrej and Coca-Cola have a green mark and work towards a green and clean India, following their Corporate Social Responsibility. In countries like the USA and other wealthy markets, green products are widely sold as people there highly emphasis on them. The Green products there come up with labeling which is called eco-labeling, which distinguishes the products from other usual products.

This eco-labeling is done by companies, NGOs, consumer associations or any government organization. A product has to go through various testings and certification processes to have a certain eco-friendly mark by the concerned authority. At the same time, there is Greenwash which means a green trademark on any product without any real basis. To protect consumers from the ill effects of Greenwash there is a consumer advising site which is a Vancouver based website called ecolabeling.org which guides the consumers about the green trademark who is representing it and what all it contains. 

1.https://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2009/02/article_0011.html.

2.https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/most-searched-products/combos/top-26-eco-friendly-products-to-make-your-life-better-in-2021/articleshow/80690430.cms.

3.https://www.godrej.com/good-and-green.


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