Green Xchange

Web-based marketplace for companies to exchange green innovation


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About the project Edit

At the beginning of 2010, 10 leading organizations announced the launch of the GreenXchange (GX), a Web-based marketplace where companies can collaborate and share intellectual property (IP) which can lead to new sustainability business models and innovation. Announced at a CEO breakfast at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Best Buy, Creative Commons, IDEO, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Nike, nGenera, Outdoor Industry Association,, 2degrees, and Yahoo! called on other corporations to join them in committing to opening up their IP to fast-track the development of innovative solutions to sustainability challenges.

Combining technology and the Creative Commons licensing structure, Green Xchange provides a platform where companies are able to issue licenses to other companies, allowing them to access patented research. One example of IP that could have cross-industry benefits is Nike’s Environmentally Preferred Rubber. Used in Nike footwear the rubber contains 96 percent fewer toxins than the original formulation. By licensing the technology on GX it could be used in other company’s footwear, or it could hypothetically be used by Mountain Equipment Co-op for bicycle inner tubes. In this way Mountain Equipment Co-op could bring a greener product to market more quickly and cheaply than it could on its own.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Green Xchange is a breakthrough concept allowing companies working on innovation in sustainability to share research in a way that's legal, safe and potentially even profitable. The main obstacle in persuading companies to share their valuable knowledge is fear. Up to this point, patents have been regarded as something to be guarded and protected, but Green Xchange challenges companies to view them as something transferable, and potentially profitable when shared. This is perhaps the major innovation of the Green Xchange concept.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

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. Patent holders can protect sensitive information by screening which types of companies may access it, and they can also set the cost for its use. The funds generated would theoretically provide a revenue stream to fund further research. By making private intellectual property visible and usable, the aim is to accelerate the development of green innovation.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

The project is currently in its nascent stages, but the implications of its effects are already gigantic. If Green Xchange succeeds in changing the way we think about transferring intellectual property and benefiting from shared ideas, it could usher us into a new realm of thinking of sustainability (and potentially other fields like medicine) as a truly collaborative endeavor.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit

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