Worldchanging.com has a new piece up on the GreenXchange, a project of Nike and Creative Commons, housed at Science Commons. The article, “Green Xchange: Creating a Meta-Map of Sustainability” details the underlying concepts for the project, the obstacles and includes a look into the future. The project, announced at last January’s World Economic Forum in Davos, pairs together the Creative Commons licensing structure (metadata, human readable aspect, legalese) with the right technology to allow companies to share their patents related to sustainability. The goal – to bring the efficiencies of open collaboration and innovation to the problems of sustainability.
As Agnes Mazur put it,
“While competitors in the same market may not be keen to share research done on improving product performance, companies in vastly different fields may benefit from the very same research without posing a threat. If a company like Nike, for example, has performed extensive research on maximizing the efficiency of air pressure in sneaker design, a company that manufactures truck tires may apply the patent in a way that saves materials and money, creates a more eco-friendly product, and does not harm Nike’s sales. But in a case like this, Nike may choose to draft the terms of the patent’s use to exclude other apparel companies.
Competitive companies may find it useful to collaborate on parallel research aimed at a common goal, such as reducing their environmental impact. For example, several companies in the apparel industry may be conducting their own research on creating a more eco-friendly shoebox. By sharing this type of research, companies can cut unnecessary costs and achieve results more quickly.”
The collaboration, as Mazur says, is still in its infancy, and seeking founding partners, people to contribute and those that are interested in the concept. For more information about the project, visit the GreenXchange Web site at sciencecommons.org.