Amplifies The Need For Industry Collaboration

4. Rethinking Manufacturing for Sustainability

Green technologies are being developed by traditional companies, but these ideas and technologies are not being leveraged to their full potential. Too often the activities are isolated and ineffective; in conflict, compromised or diluted by duplication of effort.

For example, Nike spent an entire year creating an index to measure the sustainability of their products only to discover that companies ranging from Marks & Spencer and Patagonia to Adidas and Wal-Mart had invested similar amounts of time and effort to develop their own proprietary indexes.

“Collaboration,” says a Nike executive, “would not only have gotten us there quicker, it would have resulted in a better index.”

Wikinomics principles are a better approach. So Nike worked with an NGO called the Science Commons to develop a new model of patent licensing that would make it straightforward for companies to share sustainable technologies, making them open for re-use and modification. It’s called the GreenXChange and the idea is to create an online marketplace where companies not only share cutting-edge practices but also the technology and underlying intellectual property needed to make things happen.

Early adopters such as Best Buy have agreed to contribute their green tech assets to the pool and in turn they hope to benefit from innovations contributed by new participants as they join.