Open Sourcing Sustainability: Web 2.0 meets CSR 2.0

Part 9 of 13 in Wayne Visser's Age of Responsibility Blog Series for 3BL Media.
Apr 3, 2012 3:20 PM ET

Posted by Wayne Visser

CSR 2.0 responsiveness goes beyond traditional partnerships and CSO effectiveness; it is also about innovative ways to collaborate. I want to flag several Web 2.0 inspired experiments in responsiveness that are opening up sustainability and responsibility solutions to the public. One is a platform called the Eco-Patent Commons, which allows companies to share their intellectual property for the common good. The Commons was launched by WBCSD and covers issues like waste, pollution, global warming and energy. ‘The premise of the Commons,’ says Björn Stigson, president of the WBCSD, ‘is that the free sharing of these patents leads to new collaborations and innovation aimed at helping others become more eco-efficient and/or operate in a more sustainable way.’

The Eco-Patent Commons’ publicly searchable database already contains over one hundred eco-friendly patents from companies like Bosch, Dow, DuPont, Fuji Xerox, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes, Ricoh, Sony and Taisei. Xerox, for example, has eleven pledged patents that cover a process that cuts the time it takes to remove toxic waste from soil and water from years to months, as well as a patent that covers technology that makes magnetic refrigeration less harmful to the environment.

Dr. John E. Kelly III, IBM Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research, believes that ‘innovation to address environmental issues will require both the application of technology as well as new models for sharing intellectual property among companies in different industries ... In addition to enabling new players to engage in protecting the environment, the free exchange of valuable intellectual property will accelerate work on the next level of environmental challenges.’

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