Green innovation has been a hot topic lately due, in part, to the collapse of Solyndra, as well as the debate over how the United States’ energy portfolio fits into the federal budget. But one idea may shift the notion of risk towards a reward system that could help spur green innovation.
Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs Thomas Pogge at Yale University believes that the creation of an Ecological Impact Fund is a great way to spur efficient innovation. The current practice places importance on companies receiving patents, garnering a temporary monopoly which allows innovators to recoup costs of R & D by setting the prices well above production costs. The result, says Pogge, is above-market prices and limited availability.
Pogge’s Ecological Impact Fund would aim at linking the accessibility of an innovation to its value, which could create a much better alignment of the private reward with the social benefit.
Some are skeptical of the fund, claiming that measuring ecological benefit is not an easy science, a viewpoint that Pogge has acknowledged. The fund is still an idea at this point, but it has already gained much public acknowledgment, both positive and negative.