An executive at one of the world's largest chemical firms said companies need to build a new business model for green and sustainable products for the building and construction markets.
We've gone through wave and wave of green movements for 40 years now, and it seems to me the model isn't working because too often it remains unaffordable for consumers and other stakeholders, said Rick Davenport, director of sustainable construction for BASF Corp. in Florham, N.J., the North American affiliate of BASF SE of Ludwigshafen, Germany.
He said BASF intends to change the business model by using building science to make the end product more affordable.
Green is not sustainable until it is affordable, Davenport said at a panel session on green innovations at the International Builders Show, held Jan. 12-14 in Orlando and sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders. The key is providing value for every stakeholder in the process and it starts with the homeowner and includes the manufacturers, the builders and the distributors.
As manufacturers, we have to be bold enough to not just project savings, but to guarantee them.
That means firms like BASF need to interact more with end users to understand their needs, he said, and find ways to reduce risks, reduce costs and make the entire process from manufacturing to final sale more efficient.
We have to make the products to do this and make it affordable for all not just consumers in narrow market segments, Davenport said.
Robert Zimmerman, senior staff engineer for engineering, water conservation at sustainability at kitchen and bathroom fixture manufacturer Kohler Co. in Kohler, Wis., agreed.
There are a whole lot of new technologies coming out to help homeowners make their homes more energy-efficient, Zimmerman said. Green is becoming more efficient and affordable today, but we're not there yet or where want to be in either products or manufacturing.
Zimmerman said that in the future all companies will have to have zero waste as a strategic objective and develop products that reduce energy use and the amount of resources.
We all have to reduce our use of resources, said Zimmerman. This is how businesses will have to be run in the future, with zero waste and long-term sustainability as strategic objectives.