Before discussing a variety of subtopics let us first challenge this blog’sraison d’être. Clean technology, or cleantech, as such is a quite vague term and may be defined as “any product or services that improves operational performance, productivity, or efficiency while reducing costs, inputs, energy consumption, waste, or environmental pollution” (Wikipedia). From an investor point of view cleantech thereby holds almost any type of investment opportunity in terms of capital need, time horizon, dependencies, exit opportunities etc. Like any other technology, technologies within the area of cleantech develop gradually in terms of innovation, efficiency and market acceptance. So what is different? Why do we treat cleantech differently compared to other areas? All varieties of cleantech will mature and given that they meet concrete market needs and become competitive they will eventually turn into healthy businesses. So just let the market define success and select the winners, or?
The issue is that an ordinary technology and market evolution is regarded to take too long. Our present ecological footprint is not sustainable and is expected to have dramatic consequences for our ecosystem. With the present development pace within the area we fear that our negative impact will cause irreparable damage before a sustainable equilibrium is reached.
Cleantech brings additional values that at present do not directly benefit investors in terms of return on investment. With limited expected returns funding dries up. We need to find ways to speed up the development both regarding new and improved technologies, market demand, as well as risk and value distribution, by utilizing alternative vehicles and models. This is not only about allocating enough resources but is also a question about how to use existing resources wisely.
Together this justifies the special attention given to this subject. Cleantech is not just one out of many investment areas. To be able to find alternative ways to allocate resources we need to take a holistic approach addressing all aspects directly or indirectly influencing the attractiveness of the area from an investor’s perspective. In this blog we hope to contribute to and encourage the dialogue about barriers to the required resource allocation, alternative routes avoiding or decreasing these barriers, as well as how to use resources in the most efficient way. The nature and dignity of the issue calls for unorthodox solutions and cooperation involving all stakeholders.