Green marketing is on the rise and so is green washing.
But what does this really mean?
I work in an office and, like most offices, we do a lot of
printing. Does that make us environmentally unfriendly? What if we
had a policy of printing only when absolutely necessary, two pages
per sheet and double-sided? Would we then be entitled to claim we
are sustainable? Or would we have to be entirely paperless?
The reliability of environment claims1 made by
businesses is difficult to assess, precisely because a universal
easy-to-apply standard is unworkable. Some will consider a hybrid
car is eco-friendly, others that it is just less damaging to the
So, when is it ok to say you are green?
Marketing a product or a service is very often about conveying
an immediate impression to customers. When you're in the
supermarket, for example you're often in a hurry and some
companies will take advantage of that. With a logo, a tagline or a
picture, companies want you to think that the product or service
you are about to buy is "green", "recycled",
"safe", "carbon neutral",
"sustainable" etc. Green marketing is on the rise and so
is greenwashing - making misleading or deceptive environmental
claims. They're not always flat-out lies, but can often be
So when is it okay to say you are green? You can view the full
article recently published2 in Celsias
This article first appeared in Celsias and Element e-newsletters
and was written by Sebastien Aymeric.
1 Numbered paragraphs at the end of a patent
complete specification which define the scope of the invention
protected by the patent. The purpose of the claims is to define
clearly and with precision the monopoly for which protection is
sought so that others know the exact boundaries of
2At some point a patent application is
published, meaning its contents are available for anyone to read.
In New Zealand publication occurs when a patent application is
accepted. However, in most countries publication occurs 18 months
after the application is filed.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
James and Wells is the 2010 New Zealand Law Awards winner of
the Intellectual Property Law Award for excellence in client
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