Green Innovation – wash or reality?

It is a lot of buzz about green innovations and much talk about potential green washing. And we have seen it all before with pink washing and white washing. To understand whether green innovation is washing or not the question to ask is why it exists. To cover up? To gain short term winnings? To move the focus away from other issues? Or is it possible that it really might exist a long term market opportunity here?

Let’s start with low energy light bulbs. It reduces the consumption of energy, but it is also generating a number of new problems with ozone, dirty electricity as well as mercury. On the other hand, LED bulbs that do not have these problems, was probably invented as a result of the increased demand created by its predecessor. Moreover, it is interesting to notice how Philips, vendor of traditional low energy bulbs as well as LED bulbs, just announced that they will pump in 2 billon Euro into green innovation. Most likely due to past green success and increased demands.

Philosophically it is interesting to ask if it is ok to try to go green even if there are short term trade-offs that might even be worse than without it. Like with the case with low energy light bulbs. Or as with hybrid cars; which most likely increases the demand of green cars (now and in the future) but at the same time, considering the complete revolution and present technology, probably is worse for the environment then using the best available traditional technology.

Given above thoughts; How is it with the German stop of nuclear power. Will it, short term, create negative impact on the environment and business climate but long term impact and stimulate new innovations leading to a more sustainable society as well as a comparative advantage for a new green Germany industry? Time will tell.

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