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Rising Energy Costs, Efficiency Drives Cleantech Activity

By CP Editorial Staff November 2007 - Energy Efficiency

Rising energy costs and improving energy efficiency will be central drivers of the cleantech industry over the next five years, according to a recent poll.

Cleantech encompasses products and strategies that focus on increasing productivity and efficiency while also reducing energy consumption or pollution.
Nearly half of the attendees at Ernst & Young's Strategic Growth Forum say rising energy costs are driving corporate interest in cleantech, more than any other factor, including concerns about emissions, recycling and resource scarcity combined. The poll results show that 42 percent of the approximately 140 respondents say energy costs will continue to have an outsized impact on their business over the next five years.

"These results demonstrate that the economics of energy continue to drive more and more businesses to adopt a cleantech strategy," says Joseph Muscat, Americas cleantech director at Ernst & Young. "Cleantech is as much about addressing strategic corporate challenges as it is about responding to environmental concerns.”

Half of all respondents say that of all cleantech initiatives, energy efficiency will have the greatest impact on their companies – as much as solar, wind, hydro, biofuels and others combined.
More than half, or 54 percent, of businesses say they have changed their strategic plans or business processes to incorporate cleantech initiatives. Such steps include involving "green" messages into mission statements and communications, the adoption of new business processes, and development of measures and reporting on corporate sustainability.

The amount of spending on cleantech initiatives is gathering steam. While only 28 percent of respondents say their businesses are spending $1 million or more on cleantech now, 44 percent say they expect to reach that level within the next five years.

Two-thirds of all respondents say market forces, not government regulations, will spur them to invest in and implement cleantech strategies.


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