Economic Eco-marks: Certifying Green Bonds

Green bonds are important because public initiatives such as the UN’s Green Climate Fund can provide only a small portion of the financing needed for climate-related projects.

Issued by municipalities and development banks, these bonds tie the proceeds of bond issues to environmentally friendly investments.

But which projects count as green, and how can investors be sure the investments are legitimate?

A recent article in the Economist about standards for green bonds notes that one option is a second opinion from an environmental consultancy or auditor like KPMG.

Certification is another option.  Here’s where eco-marks com in.  The Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) offers certification of green bonds.

CBI owns certification mark Registration No. 4,682,352 (‘352 Registration) for CLIMATE BOND CERTIFIED (see the mark above) for:

Analyzing, evaluating and inspecting environmental projects associated with the issuance of financial bonds by governments and corporations to raise finance for investment in emission reduction, climate change adaptation or other climate change related solutions

The certification statement in the ‘352 Registration says the following:

The certification mark, as intended to be used by authorized persons, is intended to certify that a climate bond issuer had obtained full certification by the Climate Bond Standards Body following successful completion of a Climate Bonds Registration Application and having provided evidence that a full verification had been conducted by a Climate Bonds approved verification body.

According to the Economist piece, CBI estimates that 85% of green bonds issued in 2017 have undergone an external review.

Certification marks, and the processes that underlie them, perform critical verification functions and, in this case, reduce greenwashing.

Certification marks differ from ordinary trademarks and service marks in that, instead of indicating the commercial source of a product or service, they communicate that goods or services meet certain quality or manufacturing standards.  They are owned not by the individual businesses, but by the organizations that set the standards.

For further discussion of certification marks see my previous posts here, here, and here.

Eric Lane Avatar

Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.