We will be discontinuing the Lexicon glossary tool in May 2019.

The level of maintenance this tool requires is increasing, therefore we are no longer able to offer this feature

Return to Lexicon

green technology

Also known as clean technology, this refers to the use of technology that makes products and processes more environmentally friendly, for example, by reducing CO2 emissions or by making products more biodegradeable. Overall, green technology aims at contributing to environmental sustainability.


Exemplary subject areas of green technology are green chemistry, green IT and green housing. As part of a research project in the UK, BASF (chemical company) builds zero-emission houses using green technologies such as solar panels, innovative insulation and ground-air heat exchangers. [1]

Green technology can be defined as an umbrella term encompassing the investment asset class, technology and business sectors which include clean energy and environmental, sustainable or green products/ services.  It often includes activities such as water purification, eco-efficient production techniques and renewable energy.

Green technology helps to reduce adverse effects on the environment as well as improving productivity, efficiency and operational performance of the technology itself.The term should be differentiated from cleantech, although often used interchangeably, since cleantech generally refers to the emerging financial industry. 


The ecomagination initiative from General Electric (GE) was launched in 2005. The aim of the programme is to bring forward the development of green technologies. Through this initiative the company is investing in solutions to environmental challenges such as solar energy, hybrid locomotives, lower-emission aircraft engines, lighter and stronger durable materials, efficient lighting, and water purification technology.

In the first five years, GE invested $5 billion in clean technology research and development and generated $70 billion in ecomagination revenues.  The ecomagination product portfolio contained more than 90 products in 2009. Since 2005, GE has financed and invested in 247 megawatts of solar projects. [2]

In depth: Green technology
In depth: Clean Development Mechanism