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Green Product Development

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Green Product Development

Today, the global environment presents many challenges. The demand for oil and natural gas is expected to exhaust known reserves by 2045. The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly evident; and lack of access to clean water has become a mounting crisis.

A growing number of large and small businesses view these global environmental problems as business opportunities. Why? Because there are major profits to be made by those that develop solutions to them.

Use the links below to learn how businesses are using environmental problems as catalysts to develop innovative new products and services.

Green Technology Innovation

"We are going to solve tough customer and global problems and make money doing it."

- Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of the General Electric Company.

Successful businesses not only meet the world's needs, but anticipate them. Innovation is the key. It is the driver of competitive advantage, growth, and profitability.

Financial and Technical Assistance for Technology Developers

  • Energy TechNet
    This core collection of information and resources is for anyone engaged in developing and commercializing advanced energy technologies.
  • Environmental Technology Opportunities Portal
    Information on government programs that help fund development of new environmental technologies and offers information on existing environmental technologies.
  • National Center for Environmental Research
    Information on funding opportunities for scientific research in the environmental sciences that will improve EPA's scientific basis for decisions on national environmental issues.

Small Business Innovation Grants

A few federal programs provide grants to small firms engaged in scientific research and development (R&D). The federal government's SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) programs award a specific percentage of federal R&D funds to qualified small businesses. SBIR/STTR programs encourage small firms to undertake scientific research that helps meet federal R&D objectives, and have high potential for commercialization if successful.

The following federal agencies award SBIR/STTR grants:

Case Studies and Examples

  • Green Biz Leaders
    Features hundreds of examples of how companies of all sizes and sectors align environmental responsibility with business success, as judged by independent agencies and organizations.
  • Entrepreneurs Saving the Planet
    Profiles of fast growing small businesses with new technologies that significantly benefit the environment.
  • Servicizing
    Learn how servicizing products - selling the service provide by a product rather than the product iteself - can help reduce waste and protect the environment.

What is a take-back program?

Take-back programs give manufacturers the physical responsibility for products or packaging at the end of their useful lives. By accepting used products, manufacturers can acquire low-cost feedstock for new manufacturing or remanufacturing activities, and offer a value-added service to the buyer. Many companies, such as Xerox, have made take-back an essential part of their business operations. Currently, most take-back programs in the U.S. are voluntary, while legislation in many European countries requires manufacturers to take responsibility for the waste costs associated with their products and packaging.

What types of products are good candidates for take-back?

Good candidates for take-back programs include products with packaging that is reusable or recyclable, e.g., disposable cameras and cardboard; products that become obsolete rapidly or have limited lifespan, e.g., furniture, electronics and appliances; products that contain significant material or energy value after use, e.g., power tools and batteries; and products that contain valuable components that can be refurbished and reused, e.g., photocopiers and printer cartridges.

Case Studies

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Green Product Development