We stand at the dawn of the Eco-mark Era—a period in which green branding, advertising environmentally friendly products and services, and touting sustainable business practices will be pervasive and profitable. However, with the rise of green branding comes the temptation of greenwashing—making false or misleading claims regarding environmentally friendly products, services or practices. Instances of greenwashing appear to be on the rise, but we are seeing more activity to combat greenwashing by public enforcement and consumer class actions. In addition, green brand owners are protecting and enforcing their eco-marks, and trademark litigation involving green brands is becoming commonplace. How is the consumer faring amid this flurry of green marketing, greenwashing and eco-mark activity? This article attempts to answer that question through a survey of anti-greenwashing activity and eco-mark litigation and a preliminary assessment of its impact on the green consumer.
Eric L. Lane, Consumer Protection in the Eco-Mark Era: A Preliminary Survey and Assessment of Anti-Greenwashing Activity and Eco-Mark Enforcement, 9 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 742 (2010)