Eco-Advantage Blog

May 8, 2007 | Andrew Winston | Jump to: Comments (0) | Post A Comment

Green Innovation Goes Mainstream

This week’s issue of BusinessWeek focuses on what the magazine calls the “25 Most Innovative Companies.” There’s a strong green tint to the list. From the 1-page summary of the 25 with two lines on why each company deserves the accolade, here’s a few examples/excerpts.

• #3 Toyota: “Toyota’s dominance in hybrids could lead to the first plug-in electric auto in the next four years”

• #4 GE: “Immelt’s push for ‘imagination breakthroughs’…are increasingly leading GE into…green tech”

• #11 Wal-Mart: “its ‘green’ actions, such as using its leverage…to cut suppliers’ packaging waste, helped move it up our list” [from #20 the year before]

Other green elements are more subtle. IBM’s #9 ranking is due to its “online brainstorm with 150,000 employees to dream up new ideas,” a forum which led to a new initiative called “Big Green.” Boeing (#21) is praised for the “game-changing 787” — one of the aspects of the new plane that gets a great deal of attention is the 20% fuel savings over current wide-bodied planes. For that matter, I could name a recent and/or significant green initiative for pretty much every company on the list (even #1 Apple, which has taken a lot of heat for lagging on recycling is making great noise lately).

In no way is green the only theme in this list (technology is an obvious one), but clearly the idea that green innovation can be core to the business is now mainstream. I also am thrilled to see something like packaging at Wal-Mart get highlighted. I believe strongly that innovation is not just about new products and revenues, but is integral to all kinds of value creation, including cost-cutting (or any of the four pillars of innovation — see my newsletter on this here — for that matter…cost, risk, revenues, intangibles).

The praise for green innovation is justified and great to see.

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