It's absolutely no coincidence that Green business methodologies are now sweeping the world, even in major corporations. The fact is that Green economics are better, costing is better, productivity is better and the market is far more receptive to Green products than ever before. If you want to buy carpet, white goods, electrical appliances, or even a house, you can now get the Green version of all these products very easily.
It's a true indicator of the industrial realities of the world that China, the world's factory, has been making great efforts to go as Green as possible as fast as possible. In China, it's not an ideological issue, it's a matter of necessity. Chinese business is based on razor-sharp contracts, and equally thin margins. If a contract isn't worth doing, they'll actually shut down a factory rather than carry the costs. This is the business environment which is now trying as hard as it can to go Green.
Interestingly, heavy industry has been much quicker to take up Green economics and business practices than the traditional view of industry as being opposed to Green ideas would have ever imagined. One of the great historical ironies of the whole ideological debate has been that more efficient business costing has actually exposed serious weaknesses in "normal" industrial practices.
To give an example, a major American carpet manufacturer, Interface Inc, did a study of its own production costings over a period of 10 years, and identified savings of half a billion dollars over that period. That's $50 million per year, enough to get anyone's attention. See the video on Interface's War on Waste below.
Green product life cycle analyses – the key to success
Green product design uses fundamental industrial design concepts as its base. One of the most basic concepts of industrial design is that there should be no waste, no cost inefficiencies and optimum production efficiency. Not entirely surprisingly, the facts that Green life cycle analyses include all of these factors, and can be backed up directly using CAD technology in the design process have been very persuasive arguments for adopting Green concepts.
Green life cycle analysis starts with sourcing raw materials, and covers the entire product life, including waste management and recycling, as well as the potential from selling byproducts from materials at all stages. This is a particularly comprehensive process, and designers have been quick to take advantage of the many cost benefits they can show to clients as a result.
Interestingly, one of the first major industries to take up the Green methodologies was the construction industry, arguably the biggest industry in the world. Green Building Councils have been sprouting all over the world, and with them have come excellent production standards and a peer review system which is enforcing quality controls on Green products. Everything from flooring to window frames is now part of this process.
This is a total departure from the "throwaway" regime of the past, and it's already making major inroads on the gigantic amounts of garbage produced globally. Perhaps more importantly in economic terms, it's generating more business and better business.