Global Cleantech Trends

Our green/clean tech focus here at the Green Whiteboard is generally on domestic companies and then specifically on local companies that are inventors, innovators, investors and job creators for the state, region or even city of Los Angeles.  It is natural to be most curious about and interested in things that are in our own front yards.  It is natural to be interested in larger trends, technologies and legislation that will lead to local impacts.  So much of what we post about here is primarily locally focused and then secondarily of interest in the broader schemas of green business and cleantech.

That said, it is good to be reminded that clean technology and sustainable business is happening on a global scale and that the developments and adoption will not necessarily be focused on US domestic markets, businesses or industries.  Several months ago we had Gerard V. McCaughey, CEO of Infineco, serial entrepreneur, investor, immigrant as a presenter at the Green LAVA monthly meeting.  He remarked that a large number of foreign (European in particular) investors looked at US companies as investments, but noted that most of the adoption of clean/green technology does not happen in the states.  There were some reasons for this – but the take away was invented here, used elsewhere.  

Grant Thornton, the international management, consulting and financial services company, has produced a very interesting white paper – Cleantech on the rise:  Generational opportunities for 21st-century businesses – that has a distinctly foreign focus.  Prepared by partners in some of their foreign offices, this report provides some insight into the way start-ups in the US, UK, Canada, Israel, China and India are combining talent, intellect and ambition to create value in the a wide array of clean businesses.

The opportunities ahead for cleantech are global. They belong to leaders of companies who can bring the right vision, talent and intellectual capital together with the right understanding of global cleantech markets, regulatory environments and international operating efficiencies.

This is no small order. “Cleantech” is still a young industry. The term “cleantech” is still imprecisely defined. In our experience, it is not unusual for cleantech market entrants to invest significant upfront time defining who they are — and who they are not — as they seek investors, talent and business alliances.

The white paper also reminds us that a lot of clean technology and green business models are being developed by emerging economies with young, agile entrepreneurs.  It is their destiny and they are designing the solutions and enterprises to address current challenges with a vision for the future.  It is a daunting challenge – a consumer oriented world moving away from cheap, plentiful fossil fuels.  And it is a compelling vision – societies, economies and technologies using renewable energy, sustainable business practices and cleaner industrial processes.