Eco Patent Commons and other sustainability sharing initiatives

An interesting project for promoting a culture of sustainability is one initiated by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development who, along with participating companies, has created an Eco-Patent sharing project called Eco-Patent Commons. This project encourages companies wishing to participate to share patents which are beneficial for the environment. These patents are free to use and may be used by any company which might benefit from them.  Among the participants our companies such as Ricoh, IBM,Taisei Corporation, Dupont, and others.  Each of these companies has shared a number of their patents for the benefit of the environment.

As the severity of the earth’s situation becomes more apparent and the benefits of sharing are recognized, more and more companies are participating in this project knowing that they stand to benefit from utilizing each other’s intellectual property. Rather than starting from scratch, they are able to more quickly find solutions to some of their challenges add their own intelligence to ideas which have already been patented by another company.  A similar concept has been used in the IT world through open source.

Creating a culture of sustainability will require new ways of thinking for all of us.  As the requirement for answers to our shared the dilemmas becomes more critical, companies will have less time and less resources available for their own individual research. It will be those companies who are willing to work together to find solutions, that will ultimately dominate the market. 

Similarly, within companies, the need for cooperation between individuals and departments is at an all time high.  Organizations who have developed cultures of unbridled internal and external competition will suffer the consequence of falling behind to who have developed a culture of consultation, teamwork, sharing, joint venturing, knowledge management and continuous learning. 

Municiple, regional and national governments who have learned to work effectively with other government organizations, NGOs and Businesses, who have learned to foster cooperation and respect, who have mastered consultative decision making and who share the responsibility of decisions made, will ultimately lead those who are underdeveloped in these capacities.

The call to action for all of us, is to learn and discover new and better ways work together, to recognise that the solution to many of our challenges, both economic and environmental, are  global in their nature. Let’s view our shared dilemma as an ideal opportunity to learn how to work together. 

Whether we like it or not, much of our fate on this planet will ultimately be shared.

Till next time,
Garth Schmalenberg

PS: Web-sites related to sharing initiatives
WBCSD Eco Patent Commons – http://www.wbcsd.org/web/epc/
HBI Leadership – http://hbi-leadership.com

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