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Environmental industry is a rapidly growing investment target in Europe

Shifting risk capital to the environmental industry is becoming a megatrend.



Investments in clean technologies are rapidly growing globally, and shifting risk capital to the environmental industry is becoming a megatrend. Many investors see the environmental industry as the current “hottest” investment target.

The trend is the most inevitable in North America, where the investment market is of greatest interest. Venture-capital investments in clean technologies increased in North America in the last quarter of 2005 by 18 % over the previous quarter. The total investment in 2005 in the cleantech category enterprises was USD 1.6 billion, which is approximately 35 % more than in 2004. The strong growth has continued in North America for 18 months. The relative share of investments in the environmental sector has also increased: approximately 10 % of venture-capital investments are targeted at clean technologies. The same trend is also evident in Europe and the world in general.

Finland is acclaimed for its environmental know-how

“We are fairly good in nearly every aspect of the environmental sector, but if we want to go global and play a part in the rapidly growing markets, the resources that are now spread thin should be consolidated and focused,” says Jukka Noponen, Executive Director of Sitra’s Environmental Programme.

Innovative SMEs are under great pressure to internationalise quickly, but have limited resources to do so. Domestic markets provide an insufficient reference base. The world’s best country in terms of environmental know-how would really need the pull of its own markets. What is also needed are competence clusters based on top expertise and a strategy for better focusing of research and development and marketing investments.

Sitra’s Environmental Programme has set out to seek opportunities from the development of the environmental industry. It promotes the channelling of venture-capital into the sector and creating a more distinct industry profile, as well as to increase the foresight in environmental technologies and markets. Sitra’s goal is to facilitate a national plan of action to strengthen environmental technologies and know-how and promote their internationalisation.

Sitra is one of the organisers of Cleantech Forum Lahti, an international event focusing on the financing and opportunities of environmental technologies, held for the first time in Finland, in Lahti on 5–6 June 2006.

The event will assemble some of the leading international names, one the most interesting being the keynote speaker, Nicholas Parker, Chairman & Co-founder of the Cleantech Capital Group LLC, who is known as a guru of environmental investment and one of the most brilliant representatives of the field. His organisation follows the global development of investments made in the field and produces related information for interested investors.

“The Lahti Forum offers insight into the development of the environmental industry in Finland, its nearby areas, and Europe, as well as globally from the perspective of both investors and companies,” says Mika Sulkinoja, Project Manager for Lahti Science and Business Park. The Forum will be opened by Sauli Niinistö, Vice President of the European Investment Bank.

The event is organised by Lahti Science and Business Park Ltd, Sitra, Cleantech Venture Network LLC and Cleantech Invest.

Further information

Jukka Noponen, Executive Director, Sitra
Tel. 09 6189 9430, 040 587 4323

Mika Sulkinoja, Project Manager, Lahti Science and Business Park Ltd
Tel. 03 8114 259, 050 357 1723 »

Sitra’s Environmental Programme »

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