Denmark named as leading innovator in cleantech ranking
A report by the Cleantech Group and the WWF has found that Denmark is leading innovation in clean technology, with other parts of Scandinavia, as well as North America, Germany and Israel, also excelling.
The report, called Coming Clean: The Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2012, ranks 38 countries on 15 criteria, to determine the ideal locations for start-up entrepreneurship in the sector.
Denmark topped the list by some margin, with Israel, Sweden, Finland and the US making up the top five. The UK is tenth in the table.
“The global macro-economic landscape is shifting”, said Richard Youngman, managing director of the Cleantech Group.
“Fostering entrepreneurial start-ups and growth companies with clean technology solutions will be an increasingly important part of countries’ competitiveness on the world stage.”
Four sectors were broken down and examined: general innovation drivers, cleantech-specific innovation drivers, evidence of emerging cleantech innovation, and evidence of commercialised cleantech innovation.
Each of the 38 countries were then given a score for each, with the first two sectors making up the ‘inputs to innovation’ score, and the second two combining to form the ‘outputs to innovation’ score.
Speaking at a webinar run by the Cleantech Group, Samantha Smith, leader of the WWF’s global climate initiative, outlined how it had a target of 80% emissions reduction by 2050.
She added that the world is capable of being powered by 100% renewable energy by the same year, though it would require “radical energy conservation” for this to be achieved.
“This index shows that several countries are on the right track, but clearly much more needs to be done if we are to properly address climate change and achieve a transition towards a global 100% renewable future”, Smith said.
“The overwhelming majority of capital required for making the transition to a low-carbon future will come from a variety of private sources.
“Developing a working recipe for strengthening the flow of public-private finance towards early as well as later stage cleantech is key for countries that want to taste the economic success of cleantech.”
One of the most impressive performers is Israel, a country that was placed second in the table. Meir Ukeles of Israel Cleantech Ventures, said at the webinar that he was not surprised by the result, adding that the scores fitted in with many experts’ predictions from five or so years ago.
The report shows how two of the biggest economies, the US and China, have very different approaches to cleantech. The US seemingly focuses on emerging innovation, whilst China is big on commercialised innovation.
WWF’s Smith added that in China and India, another fast-growing economy, there are big and untapped pools of capital – one of the biggest surprises to emerge from the report.
In the webinar, Richard Youngman stated that there was “far less coherent government support for renewable energy” in the UK, which explains its position in the table. However, this trend is shifting, and with an already impressive entrepreneurial culture in the country, it is expected to improve significantly over the coming years.
Already a leader in renewable energy, Denmark has once again proved the encouraging steps it is taking to push a low-carbon economy.
With more of the same expected, not just from the Danes but elsewhere on the planet, too, the cleantech industry is well and truly on the road to prosperity.
There are many ethical, sustainable and responsible funds that invest in the clean technology industry, and investment from individuals like you can help push the sector onwards.
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Infographics: Ben Willers
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