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What does green to green means?

What does green to green means?

Green to green is a phrase that refers to environmentally friendly practices and sustainability. It means transitioning from current practices and systems to ones that are more ecologically sustainable. The “green” refers to things that are good for the environment, reduce waste, minimize pollution, conserve resources, and preserve nature. Going green to green involves gradually replacing harmful materials and processes with eco-friendly alternatives across all sectors of society and the economy.

History and Origin

The exact origin of the phrase “green to green” is unclear, but it emerged as part of the environmental movement in the late 20th century. Some key events related to sustainability and the growth of the phrase include:

Year Event
1962 Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring published, warning about pesticides harming the environment
1970 First Earth Day held to raise awareness about environmental issues
1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm
1987 Report by UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable development
1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro
1997 Kyoto Protocol adopted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Early 2000s Phrases like “green business” and “go green” enter mainstream usage

The term “green to green” brought together the concepts of ecological sustainability, renewable energy, waste reduction, and innovation to describe the comprehensive transition needed to address environmental issues. It became more commonly used as both governments and businesses adopted sustainability targets and practices.

Meaning and Definition

Going “green to green” refers to the shift from current energy sources, materials, processes and lifestyles towards those that are environmentally sustainable. Some key principles it embodies include:

– Renewable energy – Transitioning from fossil fuels to clean sources like solar, wind and hydropower that don’t produce greenhouse gases.

– Energy efficiency – Using less energy overall, through strategies like green building practices, fleet electrification, and efficient appliances and lighting.

– Clean transportation – Moving from gasoline/diesel vehicles to electric cars, buses, bikes and trains that don’t rely on oil and have lower emissions.

– Circular economy – Reducing waste through recycling, reusing materials, and regenerative practices that restore resources. Shifting from the take-make-waste linear economy.

– Conservation – Protecting and restoring ecosystems, forests, lands and waters through responsible stewardship and practices to enhance biodiversity.

– Sustainability – Meeting current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Considering long-term viability across economic, social and environmental realms.

– Innovation – Developing and deploying new technologies, materials and designs that are eco-friendly while still meeting human needs like energy, shelter, goods and services.

– Low-carbon lifestyles – Choosing options and habits like sustainable diets, green purchasing, eco-travel, and shared economy services that reduce environmental footprints.

So in essence, “green to green” means holistically transitioning all sectors and activities towards models that are ecologically regenerative and sustainable.

Key Sectors

Green to green practices aim to transform all sectors of the economy and human activity to be more sustainable. Some key sectors include:


– Increasing renewable energy like solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower generation and use
– Phasing out coal power plants and transitioning from natural gas
– Expanding distributed energy systems like rooftop solar panels and community microgrids
– Improving energy efficiency in buildings, industry and transportation systems
– Developing smart grids and power storage solutions like batteries to support renewable energy growth


– Electrifying vehicles, trains, buses and other fleet vehicles to transition from gasoline/diesel
– Expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure and networks
– Improving fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles
– Investing in high speed rail, public transit, cycling infrastructure and pedestrian friendly cities to reduce automobile dependence
– Developing biofuels and synthetic fuels that have less environmental impact than petroleum based ones


– Constructing net zero energy buildings that produce as much power as they consume through solar panels and energy efficiency
– Retrofitting existing buildings to be more energy efficient through upgrades like insulation, LED lighting, smart thermostats and heat pumps
– Following green construction principles that use sustainable materials and minimize waste
– Creating high performance green affordable housing
– Developing smart buildings that optimize energy use automatically using sensors and controls


– Increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions from industrial processes
– Cutting waste through principles like circular economy and industrial symbiosis where waste from one facility is used as a resource for another
– Using renewable energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal to power factories and plants instead of fossil fuels
– Deploying systems like cogeneration and combined heat and power that use waste heat from generation processes to maximize efficiency
– Creating closed loop systems that recycle water and resources within a facility


– Growing crops sustainably through techniques like no-till farming, crop rotations and organic farming without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers
– Improving water efficiency with practices like drip irrigation and moisture sensors
– Reducing food loss and waste across production, processing, distribution and consumption stages
– Using renewable energy and biofuels in agricultural operations
– Supporting regenerative agriculture that improves soil health and sequesters more carbon
– Conserving forests and ecosystems through land management policies and partnerships between farmers and environmental groups

Waste Management

– Following the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to minimize resource use and landfill waste
– Building more robust recycling and composting systems for all types of consumer and industrial waste including e-waste
– Extracting valuable resources from landfills like metals, plastics, paper, glass to give them a second life
– Developing technologies to convert waste into energy at renewable waste-to-energy plants
– Instituting extended producer responsibility systems which require manufacturers to collect used products and packaging

Finance and Investment

– Divesting from fossil fuel related companies and projects to lower carbon emissions
– Incorporating climate change risks into investment and lending decisions
– Scaling up green finance mechanisms like green bonds, sustainability-linked loans, and climate funds that support renewable energy, low carbon infrastructure, clean tech and similar projects with environmental benefits
– Requiring robust climate disclosures and transition plans from all companies and financial institutions
– Integrating metrics like emissions reductions, green revenues and exposure to physical climate risks into financial analysis and decisions
– Developing regulations and standards that shift financial flows towards sustainable sectors


Transitioning “green to green” across economic sectors and society as a whole has many environmental, economic and social benefits including:

– Reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change
– Improving air quality by lowering pollution, which reduces incidence of respiratory illness
– Conserving water resources and improving efficiency, increasing availability for human and ecological needs
– Protecting biodiversity through sustainable land management and habitat preservation
– Reducing environmental health hazards by restricting use of toxic materials and chemicals
– Lowering waste and litter through improved packaging, recycling and circular systems
– Creating green jobs in sectors like renewable energy, green construction, environmental services and ecotourism
– Supporting technological innovation in fields like renewable energy, green products and services
– Saving money over the long run as energy and resource efficiency lower operating costs
– Improving community health and wellbeing through sustainable urban planning focused on people and inclusive public spaces
– Building resilience to climate disruptions like flooding, droughts and heat waves by improving infrastructure

The cumulative environmental effect of green to green transitions across sectors can help preserve planetary health and reverse ecological damage. The social benefits range from affordable access to clean energy and transportation for all communities to improved water and food security. The long-term economic gains also make sustainability a profitable investment compared to the costs of inaction on climate change and environmental degradation.

Challenges and Barriers

Shifting fully green to green faces a number of obstacles and challenges:

– **High upfront costs** – Installing renewable energy systems, converting fleets to electric vehicles, and constructing green buildings often have higher upfront price tags compared to conventional options which tend to have lower initial costs but higher operating expenses.

– **Policy and regulatory hurdles** – Outdated regulations, building codes and permitting processes often hinder green options. Land use policies like urban sprawl make public transit and sustainable cities harder.

– **Entrenched business models** – Profitable legacy industries like oil and gas, traditional utilities, and internal combustion engine manufacturing may resist change and lobby governments against policies promoting sustainability.

– **Consumer habits and social norms** – People get accustomed to convenience like personal vehicles for transport or waste generation from disposable products. Shifting habits and culture requires education.

– **Split incentives** – In buildings for example, developers may try to minimize upfront costs even if the result is higher operating expenses down the road for tenants or owners.

– **Intermittency of renewable power** – Wind and solar generation fluctuates based on weather conditions and needs storage solutions to provide steady supply.

– **Lack of financing** – Many green projects struggle to secure affordable debt financing, especially in developing countries, due to real and perceived risks.

Overcoming these barriers often requires coordinated efforts and alignments between policymakers, businesses, investors, civil society organizations and communities. Progress may seem gradual but stiff persistence, social movements and market forces can drive the systemic changes needed to reach sustainability.

Examples and Case Studies

Many leading companies, cities and countries are already transitioning green to green and setting examples for others:


– **Ikea** – The furniture giant is aiming for 100% renewable energy use, zero emissions delivery fleets, circular product designs that use recycled and sustainable materials, and management of forests and agriculture land to sequester carbon.

– **Microsoft** – The tech company plans to be carbon negative by 2030 through energy efficiency, renewable power, carbon removal, and eco-friendly supply chains. Microsoft is also investing $1 billion in climate innovation.

– **JetBlue Airways** – The airline is offsetting carbon emissions from jet fuel by investing in forestry conservation and renewable energy projects. It is also exploring options to use sustainable aviation fuel.

– **Patagonia** – The outdoor gear and apparel company uses renewable energy, sustainable cotton, recycled fabrics like polyester and nylon, and offers repairs for their clothes. The company is also politically active on environmental issues.

Cities and Towns

– **Copenhagen, Denmark** – The city plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025 through strong public transit, extensive bike lanes, district heating based on renewables and waste, green buildings, public EV charging, and waste-to-energy plants. More than 60% of people commute by bicycle.

– **Freiburg, Germany** – Known as Germany’s environmental capital, Freiburg gets most of its power from solar and hydropower. It has large pedestrian zones with tram and cycling networks, green buildings, and extensive recycling and composting programs.

– **Vancouver, Canada** – Vancouver committed to 100% renewable energy by 2050. The city already uses hydropower for 90% of electricity needs but aims to expand solar and wind. It also has a robust Zero Waste 2040 strategy.

– **San Francisco, USA** – The Californian city has an 80% waste diversion rate from landfills and has mandated that all new buildings must be net-zero energy. It is also requiring new construction to have solar panels and EV chargers.


– **Iceland** – Around 85% of Iceland’s primary energy comes from renewable sources like hydropower and geothermal. Nearly all electricity comes from hydropower and hot springs. Iceland aims to cut greenhouse gases 50-75% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

– **Sweden** – About 57% of Sweden’s energy comes from renewable sources as of 2019. The country taxes carbon emissions and uses the revenue to cut income and corporate taxes, facilitating the switch to cleaner energy. Sweden aims to achieve a net zero carbon economy by 2045.

– **Costa Rica** – Almost all of Costa Rica’s electricity came from renewable energy sources in 2019, predominantly hydropower but also wind, solar, biomass and geothermal. The country aims to be a carbon neutral economy by 2050.

– **Ethiopia** – To combat deforestation and land degradation, Ethiopia deployed a national reforestation and afforestation program, planting over 15 billion seedlings since 2019. The country aspires to reach middle-income status through a green economy.

These examples showcase the wide range of green solutions being implemented around the world, from local to national levels. The common thread is long-term policies and planning to drive sustainability across sectors using diverse available options and resources.

Key Takeaways

Some key points to understand about “green to green”:

– It refers to the transition towards an environmentally sustainable economy through renewable energy, efficiency, innovation, circularity and ecosystem protection.

– Green to green aims to overhaul practices across sectors like energy, transportation, buildings, manufacturing, agriculture and finance using eco-friendly solutions.

– Benefits include emission reductions, resource conservation, waste reduction, green jobs creation and lower long term costs.

– However, challenges like upfront costs, policy hurdles, business resistance and social norms exist. But persistence, policy and activism can drive change.

– Companies, cities and countries are demonstrating emissions reduction and renewable energy targets can be met with existing green technologies.

– Sustainability must be embedded across all government and business planning and operations, rather than niche efforts, to achieve green to green economies.

The vision encompassed by green to green thinking provides hope for creating prosperity in balance with ecological limits through ingenuity and systems change. With smart strategy and political will, the end goal of living well within planetary boundaries can be within reach.


The transition from current carbon-intensive and wasteful practices to sustainable green solutions across all sectors is imperative to tackle pressing environmental crises like climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. While the scale of the shift required is undoubtedly immense, examples from forward-thinking companies, cities and countries prove it is achievable using existing green technologies and incentives. With the right social momentum and political leadership, the world can redesign systems to be regenerative, distributive and inclusive through a green to green transformation. The environmental and human welfare payoffs make it one of the most vital investments for the 21st century.