With the worldwide green-business market worth more than $600 billion, the environment has become a strategic issue that can be used to “crush the competition,” Time reports. Businesses have turned green primarily for the potential profits – GE, which has committed to spending $1.5 billion a year on renewable energy and other green research by 2010, has reported revenues of $10.1 billion from environmental products in 2005, up from $6.2 billion in 2004.
With its Prius, Toyota is poised to become the world’s leading automobile manufacturer. It’s taken the idea of conservation into its factories too. Today, Toyota can use a single production line to make multiple vehicle types, which has helped it reduce energy use in manufacturing 30 percent since 2000. CO2 emissions per car are down as well, and the company has set a goal of reducing emissions worldwide in 2010 by 20 percent from 2001 levels. Toyota’s advances have forced Ford and General Motors into a frenzied game of catch-up.
But there are some contradictions that raise cries of greenwashing. GE, for example, sells wind turbines, but it probably sells even more jet engines.