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Performance: Products and Services

Case studies on product and services innovation

Bikers and walkers commuting in the city.The Collaborative Economy

The “collaborative economy,” or “sharing economy,” is commonly used to describe an economic model emphasizing access to products and goods over ownership. Across North America and globally, individuals are sharing all sorts of products and services—from gently worn clothing, to cars, to a room in an apartment or even a power drill or lawnmower. By leveraging assets not constantly in use, companies and individuals are able to make revenue, create a sense of community and decrease environmental impacts. Read more...


In Hot Water

Investing in Innovation

In April 2013, Ikea joined Nike as an investor in Netherlands-based, DyeCoo Textile Systems, a company who developed a water-less fabric dyeing process.  This innovative technology uses recycled carbon dioxide to color fabrics and is expected to eliminate the need for water and reduce the energy used in conventional textile dyeing.  Traditional dyeing techniques can use up to 40 gallons of water to dye just two pounds of textile materials.

When Nike announced its investment in DyeCoo early in 2012, the company recognized that it would take time and money to help develop this water-less technology to the point where it could be brought to scale.  Although DyeCoo has a ways to go to tangibly impact the manufacturing processes of textile suppliers, with projections of 39 million tons of polyester to be dyed annually by 2015, the potential water and energy savings this technology could enable is significant.

Water Pipe

Roadmap to Zero

Chemicals used to make footwear and apparel products can have a significant impact on workers and the environment through their use in manufacturing and their ultimate release into the air or waterways.

In response to a Greenpeace campaign, Nike, H&MAdidas and others launched an effort in 2011 to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020--the Roadmap to Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals. The group issued a joint roadmap outlining its strategy, as well as a call for other companies to join them and for NGOs, academics, policy makers and issue experts to provide input to the process.

Green Innovation

Market-facing Sustainability Goals

Dupont set its first set of market-facing sustainability goals aimed at developing solutions to help its customers be more sustainable in 2006. Two of these goals included doubling investment to in R&D programs with direct, quantifiable environmental benefits for the customer and increasing annual revenue by at least $2 billion from products that create energy efficiency and/or significantly reduce GHG emissions—by 2015. According to its 2012 GRI report, as of 2011, the company has invested $823 million in R&D for products that reduce environmental impacts, well exceeding its 2015 goal of $640 million.  In addition, DuPont grew its revenue from products that reduce GHG emissions to $1.9 million.  The company estimates that these products in the marketplace resulted in cumulative GHG emissions reductions of nearly 16 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents.

Green Fuel

Unlikely Allies

In early 2013, GM and Ford announced a new partnership to develop new fuel efficient transmissions for cars, SUVs and trucks.  Not only is this an opportunity for scaling environmentally sustainable product innovations--but collaboration will also mean significant cost savings. Read more....