Is it just a “Buzz”? Who benefits from it? Us today or future generations tomorrow? The “green” label is already permeating product portfolios, and information technology is increasingly taking over. But what exactly is behind it? How can “green” find its way into the product portfolios of service providers, what added value and what risks does it entail?
THE “SERVICES” MARKET GIANT: A BIG SHARE, A BIG IMPACT
The contribution of services to total gross value added in Germany, for example, is just under 73%, and the trend is upward. This powerful market share leads to the following conclusion: the greener the service sector or the greater the contribution of services to environmental sustainability, the greater the corresponding overall contribution to a more sustainable planet.
So how can the billion dollar Bigfoot called the “service sector” have a small CO2 footprint? And how does it learn to walk with them and assert itself in the face of obstacles and risks?
We should all take these and other questions with us on our journey into the future and start early on to incorporate the immense and already predictable value-adding power of services in planning for a smart planet.
HOW TO ENSURE THE SUSTAINABILITY OF “GREEN SERVICES”?
“The aspects that are important for the sustainable success of green services business models, what a technical service must fulfill to receive the “green” label and where there is a need for research and development, we would like to clarify. The fact that the trend in products and information technology continues to move towards sustainability and “green” is highlighted by current developments in the market and at the political level. However, we first explore the role that services play in this context and the contribution that innovative business models can make, with a focus on technical services.
According to the opinions and empirical results circulating in research and policy, the overall concept of sustainability contributes to making our natural environment more livable, to enriching us through resource conservation, and, through a new strand of social sustainability, to creating greater satisfaction and performance among employees and customers.
But: is it worthwhile for a technical service provider to enter the “Green Service Biz”? If so, under what conditions? What we are looking for are appropriate business models for green services and an answer to the question: “How much does it cost and what benefits does it generate?
PRACTICAL EXAMPLES OF GREEN BUSINESS MODELS IN THE SERVICE SECTOR
Looking for service offerings that are already on the market and can be individually placed under the umbrella of “sustainability” – that is, that somehow generate long-term ecological, economic or social benefits – one finds a whole range of examples:
Starting with energy-saving services, which include services such as energy-saving contracts and energy-efficiency consulting, through low-CO2 transport and logistics services and car-sharing offerings, as well as services that extend or even replace the life cycle of goods such as machinery and equipment and thus contribute to the concept of sustainability, to offerings such as green IT or green technology services.
BUT WHAT IS A “GREEN SERVICE”?
The term “green services” almost never appears explicitly in company offerings or activities, because for many people the term is not clearly tangible, but lies somewhere between “sustainably designed services” and “services with lasting effects”. Nevertheless, these types of services or product-related services are already sporadically represented in product portfolios.
We see it as our duty in the field of service engineering to identify and address the starting points for making existing services “greener”, i.e. to improve life cycle analyses of service processes on the one hand, and to systematically develop services with a “green” impact on the environment and subsequent generations on the other. The overall objective is to help service providers to further develop existing approaches towards “sustainability”. The aim is to raise awareness of value drivers and to develop sustainable and viable business models.