21 September 2015 Social Responsibility Series: How will they know we care? Product and business certification choices

By Euge Power, Solicitor

In Brief

You can say all you like about how socially responsible your company is and how you do your best to be ethical or principled. But how do you show you care? Euge Power, Solicitor at Swaab Attorneys, presents a list of certification marks which might prove to potential clients that there is substance to your claims of social responsibility.  

Product certification and use of a certifying body's trademarks is a way to show your products or services meet with certain standards. These standards can be in relation to anything: the environment, place of manufacture, treatment of employees or combinations of any such standards. Below is a list of a few certification marks that can enhance your brand.


Fairtrade International
The Fairtrade International certification mark signifies that the products or organisation that bear its mark have met the Fairtrade Standards. The Fairtrade Standards include generic and product specific standards which producers and organisations have to meet to obtain certification. Details for Fairtrade Standards can be found

Australian Made
The Australian Made certification mark signifies the product is substantially transformed in Australia and at least 50% or more of the cost of manufacturing or producing must be attributable to a process which occurred in Australia. Other variations are available, such as "Product of Australia" and "Australian Grown" among others. More details on the availability of this trade mark can be found here.

National Heart Foundation
The Heart Foundation Tick certification mark signifies that the food which bears its mark has met the Heart Foundation's nutrient standards. The mark is synonymous with healthy foods containing fibre, calcium, whole grains and vegetables while having reduced fat, trans fat, sodium and kilojoule content. More details on the availability of this trade mark can be found

There are a large range of certification marks that are available for business owners to associate with their products. Just as variable are the fees and standards required to use such identifiable certification marks.

There are also certification marks which relate to services or the manner in which a company is conducted

Benefit Corporations
B Corps (Benefit Corporations) are certified by the not-for-profit B Lab Australia & New Zealand Limited to meet their standards in relation to social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Unlike the certification marks for products, the B Corp mark can be obtained by any company as long as it is willing to comply with the rigorous standards set out by B Lab. Becoming part of the B Corp community brings you into a community of ethically aware companies like Ben & Jerry's or Sendle. More details in relation to the standards required to use this trademark can be found here.

There are many other ways you might be able to catch the eye of prospective customers or manage your corporate identity to align with high ethical and social responsibilities. To find out more, please contact the Corporate Team at Swaab Attorneys.

If you would like to republish this article, it is generally approved, but prior to doing so please contact the Marketing team at

This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

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