Sometimes chalked up as “hippie consumerism”, green products have not received as much mainstream coverage as some of these great innovations deserve. Nor have they been accepted as widely as there is a true market for green products. There is a laundry list of reasons that green products have been muddling along for the last 15 years.
Often times green products are seen by some of the media as products that are developed by finger-pointing environmentalists who want to find fault in modern consumerism (watch Fox News). Some times, there are short-sighted green products that look green on the outside but fall short. For example, someone sent me a “hydrogen fuel cell charger” the other day. Thinking that I would receive something that I could just refill with distilled water, I was completely disappointed with what I found: a unit that I need to send back to the manufacturer to recharge! Let’s do the calculation on the UPS truck picking up the unit to send it back to the manufacturer. Not really green, sorry.
But things are reaching a tipping point for green products, making it one of the most impressive opportunities for business in years. Green products are not just “good” products or products that make the environment happy. What green products really are is the evolution of product development. After inventing hundreds of different types of batteries using limited (and mostly dangerous) resources, what is next? Developing a portable power source that is made of renewable and less toxic materials. After more than a hundred years of the internal combustion engine, what is next? Just think back to the replacement of the steam engine. Sure, there are steam engines around today, but they have mostly been replaced by better technology.
Our cars. Our homes. Our appliances. Our energy sources… These will all change into green products in the future. Remember the source of light for most homes in the United States at the beginning of last century? Wasn’t the light bulb folks! Remember cash registers from the 1800s? Weren’t swiping credit cards my friends! Remember how we traveled across the Pacific for most of the 1900s? Wasn’t in an airplane like today!
So, what is next for business? What is the next great industry that will take us through the evolution of the silicon age? Green products. This shift in industry won’t be led by the picket lines and inconvenient truths. It will be led by good old fashioned pioneers of innovations. People like Richard Branson and Bill Gates and George Westinghouse and Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo Da Vinci and Archimedes… and anyone who puts their ideas out there and makes it happen.
Be on the lookout for big news about green.