During a recent email exchange with Joao Neiva de Figueiredo -- co-editor of the recently released book, Green Products: Perspectives on Innovation and Adoption -- I asked him what he thought were the most important considerations for the sustainable adoption of green products and services in an increasingly globalized world. Here is his complete response:
"In analyzing examples of green product innovation and adoption in various countries around the world, I believe the three necessary conditions for sustainable adoption of green practices are:
- The need for a systemic approach in which the different moving parts in the development and adoption of new technologies are addressed with attention to their many linkages. In addition, interrelationships between these new technologies and institutions and markets need to be considered systemically. It is not enough to have a brilliant solution for one part of the puzzle if the linkages to related issues are not examined and solutions found.
- The need for mechanisms that align the incentives of all stakeholders to ensure widespread adoption of a green technology. The first step in the process is necessary to correctly identify the stakeholders and their objectives. This can be a complex process because often major stakeholders are not even at the table and therefore cannot explicitly defend their own point of view. Once stakeholders are identified, it is desirable that markets, society, and governmental institutions provide incentives for those stakeholders to behave in a way that favors adoption of the green innovation.
- It is necessary for the innovative solution to address each of the three 'people, planet, profit' dimensions (i.e., social, environmental, and economic considerations need to be integrated in any large-scale proposed green solution). Furthermore, from an adoption standpoint it is helpful to use both a top-down and a bottom-up approach (i.e., policies that stimulate thinking globally and acting locally seem to be the most successful).
What do you think of his conclusions? Have you seen any examples of green practices that have adopted these tenets? Have you seen green projects that have failed due to poor planning or incomplete considerations?