In 2021, the concept of sustainability dominates the marketplace. From coffee to clothing to search engine homepages, third parties are emphasizing the sustainable, eco-friendly nature of their products and services to consumers now more than ever. One way third parties communicate the sustainable nature of their offerings is through the use of green trademarks, also known as certification marks. Unlike a traditional trademark, a certification mark is not a source identifier for one party’s goods or services. Rather, a certification mark represents a certification regarding some characteristic that is common to the goods or services of many persons. Thus, the appearance of a certification mark on a commercial product indicates the existence of a certain product standard or regulation, and a claim that the manufacturer has verified compliance with those standards or regulations. See Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure Section 1306.05(a).

Today, third parties commonly use green certification marks to signal to consumers that their products or services meet certain sustainability and environmental impact requirements. But, do green certification marks actually lead to greener consumption? This article will examine whether green certification marks have an impact on consumers’ purchasing habits and effectively promote more sustainable, green consumption.

  • A Brief History of Green Certification Marks

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