Nike recently partnered with Salesforce, Yahoo, Best Buy, Creative Commons, IDEO, Mountain Equipment Co-Op and others to form the GreenXchange, a web-based marketplace that will allow companies to collaborate and share intellectual property that leads to new sustainability business models and innovation.
The idea, launched by Wikinomics author Don Tapscott and Nike’s Sustainability Innovation team, is similar to the Eco-Patent Commons, an initiative started by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and IBM in 2007. The Eco-Patent Commons (EPC) created a conglomerate of IT/tech companies in Silicon Valley that were willing to share intellectual property related to solving environmental and corporate social responsibility problems. The EPC also supports sharing IP for sustainable growth in developing countries.
Nike will share more than 400 of its patents for research. One of these include their Environmentally Preferred Rubber, which contains 96 percent fewer toxins than traditional rubber. It could, for example, be used by MEC for a new line of bike tubes, helping the company bring a greener product to market cheaper and faster.