Report shows UK leading way in cleantech

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A new report has highlighted the UK’s prominent role in cleantech, with 18 per cent of total European spend in the sector invested here.

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Created by IP and tax specialists GovGrant, the report examines cleantech investment spend this century, looking at companies focused on decarbonisation activities across renewable energy, environmental services and agricultural innovations. Global investment in cleantech reached £134bn in 2021, an increase on the previous record of £129bn in 2018.

“As climate change action becomes increasingly urgent, it’s no surprise that investment in cleantech is soaring. However, the level of growth is still remarkable,” said Adam Simmonds, investment research analyst at GovGrant.

“The strength of the sector in the UK is also really pleasing. Clearly, our cleantech sector, helped by tax credits, is flourishing. It’s going to be exciting to see where the industry goes and what rising investment can do for the future of the planet.”

Globally, the report identifies over 21,800 companies working in the sector, with 8,500 headquartered in Europe. The UK is home to just under 2,000 of these companies, around nine per cent of the worldwide total.

While investment in cleantech may be growing, the report shows that the sector makes up just three per cent of total investment this century, accounting for £1.25 trillion of £40 trillion. Considering the scale of the challenge the climate crisis presents, this appears a remarkably low figure. However, the recent growth in investment indicates there is cause for optimism and that the sector is attracting more and more backers, with over eight per cent of global investors now involved in cleantech.

“Put simply, founders and investors are finally seeing the massive local and global growth opportunities in clean technologies, as they are increasingly cheaper and better than dirtier, traditional alternatives,” said David Hunt, founder and CEO of cleantech sector specialist Hyperion Executive Search.

“Yet the largest barrier to progress the sector is facing regardless of investment is the talent shortage. Workers are at the heart of the clean energy transition as employment in the energy sector is set to increase to 100 million by 2050. Without the people to actually drive the transition forward, long-term ambitions can’t be realised.”