The Green Arrow


The Green Arrow:

 a universal icon for all initiatives related to helping reduce our environmental impact.


There are many terms that essentially mean ‘to live better with less’, such as sustainable development, conservation, eco-friendly, or green.  We need a single and readily identifiable image that will help build a common bond between all kinds of projects and activities that are part of the shift to a sustainable future.

For this reason, we have designed the green arrow icon, and are making it freely available under a Creative Commons license.


As with all icons, the key lies in simplicity. A single arrow is used to show the downward trend resulting from overconsumption being transformed into a leaner and positive future. The image reinforces a message of hope in the face of environmental decline, resource scarcity, and economic turmoil. The icon is a reminder that we need to focus on solutions that help us live better with less.


The Adobe illustrator file  (right click and save) Adapt and adopt!

Jpeg, 700 x 308 px


greenarrow  gif 150 x 83 px




greenarrow100100 x 48 px


favarrowIco Favicon  (right click and save)


Creative Commons License

The sustainability icon by Canada Conserves is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Background: why a new icon?

Ever notice that there isn’t a universal icon for sustainability, green, eco-friendly, conservation and all of the different names we have to say “live in harmony with nature”.

Google images for recycling, and you’ll get a thousand different images based on the moebius loop: recycleicons

Now Google images for sustainability, ecological, eco-friendly, natural, or conservation, and you will get something like this:conserveicons

There is no simple icon – a single image – to represent the many different facets of living in harmony with nature – from respect for nature, to resource conservation and sustainable development, to the minimization of waste and pollution.

At the root of all the many terms and approaches there is the very simple and common concept that we all need to live more lightly on this earth.  We need to reduce our impact.  At the same time, however, we all want to live a good life.  Living sustainably (however we define it) should also help us to live better, whether through a better quality of life, better health, saving money, or just feeling good about our actions.  In short, we need to live better with less.

For all the complexity of sustainability and green living, we need a simple and universal icon to represent both our commitment to reduce our impact and our desire to live better.  Our proposal for a universal sustainability icon conveys the idea of both reducing our impact (the left side) and improving our lives (the right side).

Pretty simple, huh.  But that’s exactly what we need: a simple image to unite us all and all our endeavours.

Feel free to “adapt and adopt” the icon into your own work, either as a stand alone icon or integrated into a new image or logo.

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