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Private-sector green-tech investments continue, even as public support wavers

Government support of green technology initiatives -- monetary or otherwise -- may be on the wane but a new accounting of private sector investments figures that about $400 million has been invested so far. That brings the total invested since 2007 to $2.
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Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Government support of green technology initiatives -- monetary or otherwise -- may be on the wane but a new accounting of private sector investments figures that about $400 million has been invested so far. That brings the total invested since 2007 to $2.4 trillion, according to a report update from Ethical Markets Media.

Yep, that's $1 trillion more than the amount that the U.S. Congress has pledged to cut from the mushrooming U.S. debt. Of course that is a global number, but it gives you an idea of the money that is still changing hands in cleantech funding, despite the slow economic recovery around the world.

The Green Transition Scoreboard update, published by Ethical Markets Media, figures that investments are coming slower than $10 trillion pace that the firm had anticipated leading into 2020. The other thing that is noteworthy is that the organization has added tracking for research and development investments that are under $100 million, which will capture some of the activity going on within smaller companies.

Commenting on those smaller deals, Green Transition Scoreboard lead researcher Timothy Nash said:

"Deals under $100 million, while barely moving a barometer tracking investments in trillions, are significant as they demonstrate how thousands of different companies believe in the economic soundness of greening industries. These diverse companies are all investing in making systems and products more effective, using less energy and generating less pollution throughout the lifecycle.

In terms of specific sectors, the scoreboard makes particular note of the fact that corporate research and development in green "transition" technologies such as renewable energy or smart grid or efficiency is now at about $258 billion; this is a substantial jump over the reported February 2011 figure of $163 billion. The scoreboard update notes:

"This jump may reflect greater management awareness of the need for redesigning products and services for greater energy and materials effectiveness -- criteria now driving innovation. Also, reporting standards are improving as investors are demanding more disclosure and governments, such as Japan, publish environmental accounting guidelines."

Of course, reports such as these tend to lag economic trends. Given the past quarter of political turmoil and uncertainty in many major economies, including the United States, it should be illuminating to see what the year-end numbers bring. If the recovery continues to flag, will the green-tech investments keep coming?

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