In Davos, companies launch an idea sharing forum that will allow them to focus on sustainable innovation, and bring green products to market cheaper and faster.
Corporations have often earned the harshest criticism from those that advocate sustainable industrial practices -- and with good reason. They are notorious for being far too concerned about their competitive advantage to ever consider sharing sustainable business practices, even when sharing would produce better environmental outcomes. However, in an unprecedented move, three of the world's largest corporations have chosen to join a web-based marketplace where companies can collaborate and share intellectual property and hopefully speed up the development of sustainable patents.
Nike, Best Buy, and Yahoo are only three of a rather prestigious list of mainstream companies that have founded the GreenXchange: "an innovative, revolutionary partnership that brings together companies, people, and ideas to create sustainable change that affects us all."
The GreenXchange was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the GreenXchange is focused on bringing a sense of sharing and collaboration to the otherwise cut throat corporate world. A place where companies large and small can come to share, or take, patents and licensing information for sustainable technology.
"The Xchange is the first step in a journey towards more sustainable innovation, and the more companies that get on board, the faster we’ll all make progress," wrote Don Tapscott of The Globe and Mail. "The benefit of placing intellectual property on GX is that it gives the IP owners the ability to choose the licensing approach they feel comfortable with – from research and attribution recognition to non-competitive use and simple fee structures."
In addition to making big green ideas more accessible to smaller companies and organizations, the GreenXchange attempts to foster a sense of responsibility by using the network efficiencies of open innovation to solve problems of commercial sustainability- not only at home, but in countries all around the world.
The current forums on the GreenXchange website enable members to post their own ideas and suggestions, as well as vote for and comment on ideas that they like.
“Nike is today committing to placing more than 400 of our patents on GX for research, demonstrating our belief that the best way to stimulate sustainable innovation is through open innovation,” said Mark Parker, Nike president and chief executive. “Our hope is this will unleash new innovation to help solve current obstacles to sustainability issues.”
While such statements signal a much needed shift in the way that major corporations view themselves and their competition in relation to the health of the environment, sharing information for future technologies doesn't erase the human rights violations or fossil fuel and raw material consumption that some of these corporations have been found guilty of in the past.
Hopefully, the formation of the GreenXchange will be a turning point in the way these companies choose to do business, and will start a trend in the type of technology that is considered efficient and valuable in the future.