Article hits the mark with international Top 20 ranking

An article co-authored by Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s Professor Graeme Austin has been selected as one of the top 20 journal articles on environmental law published in the United States in the past academic year.

The Law School in summer

The article, Trademarks and Private Environmental Governance, was published in the law review of the University of Notre Dame. It was selected by the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review a “forum for the presentation and discussion of some of the most creative and feasible environmental law and policy proposals from the legal academic literature”—from 332 articles eligible for consideration.

Co-written by Professor Austin from the Faculty of Law and Professor David Adelman from the University of Texas Law School, the article’s ‘big idea’ is that green trade marks can overload consumers with information and this can result in a ‘race to the bottom’ on certification standards.

Professor Austin and Professor Adelman argue that trade mark law should work toward enforcing reliable standards for ecolabels and avoiding information overload for consumers seeking to make ethical environmental choices.

“We urgently need consumers to vote with their wallets,” says Professor Austin. “If ecobrands are going to be effective tools for private environmental governance, we need some radical changes to trade mark laws.”

The article’s selection by the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review “is a great accolade”, says Vice-Provost (Research) Professor Margaret Hyland, “and a good example of New Zealand research—Victoria University of Wellington research—having impact offshore”.