Europe’s cleantech sector has developed at a comparable rate to the global competition, particularly in relation to renewable technologies such as wind. Europe, however, has fallen behind the United States in investment, particularly venture capital funding. Recent estimates place total cleantech investment in Europe during 2008 at €900 million against €1.8 billion in the United States. The economic downturn has added further pressure on venture capital backing, highlighting the importance of the European Commission and national governments as sources of cleantech financial support.
“Cleantech represents a green shoot of growth for Europe’s knowledge-based economy. The market conditions are undoubtedly tough, but the combination of private sector ingenuity and government-led necessity is driving a new wave of interest in clean and green technology. Bringing together entrepreneurs and investors will help convert these green shoots into positive growth prospects for Europe.”
Bernard Vogel Managing Partner, Endeavour Vision SA, and President, Cleantech Summit 2009
The EU is a source of funding and a critical point for dialogue and information exchange between stakeholders. Effective positioning with EU and national governments offers a pathway to be part of the solution in tackling global challenges such as climate change, to showcase corporate responsibility and to create shared value – all of which are now considered essential for successful and sustainable business. They need guidance and advice from cleantech companies to identify cost-effective solutions and best practice. They also need to be aware of technologies that are available now and have insight into what is on the horizon.
The European Commission announced €105 billion will be invested in the “green economy” through the EU cohesion policy
The cleantech sector is becoming the second largest investment sector for European VCs after biotech
150 investors made their first cleantech venture investment in a European company in 2008
Source: The Cleantech GroupCleantech companies in Europe have to navigate a complex web of challenges and opportunities relating to a diverse range of stakeholders. To be successful, companies need a clear strategy on who they need to communicate with – audiences are likely to include government, business, academia and consumers. For both public and private sectors this requires an understanding of who and what is motivating purchasing decisions around cleantech, and which people within an organisation will influence research funding or purchasing decisions.
Much of the analysis of cleantech in Europe has focused on a single aspect of the overall environment – whether that is regulatory frameworks, investment opportunities or venture capital funding. If the market is to grow it requires the right policy framework and funding opportunities, together with a commitment from public and private sectors to follow through on their environmental intentions with cleantech purchase decisions. Weber Shandwick commissioned research to assess this context and to explore the opportunities for cleantech firms in Europe.
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