The Cleantech Group and the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) have just released their “Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2012”. The report uses a number of factors to achieve an overall cleantech innovation rank for countries. Israel came in #2 in the overall score, second only to Denmark. In the body of the report and in the webinar that accompanied its publication, much can be learned on how to evaluate cleantech accomplishments on an international level, and where the countries of the world stand on cleantech innovation.
Israel was cited in the report for its capacity to produce new innovative cleantech companies, and received the highest score by far in the “Evidence of Emerging Cleantech Innovation” factor (8.6). It was was cited in the report to be “a clear winner in this factor, with by far the most Global Cleantech 100 companies per GDP and the second highest concentration of cleantech VC activity.”
Smaller countries in general, in addition to Israel Scandinavian countries, Ireland and Korea, did particularly well in the index, as they produce more cleantech innovation relative to the size of their populations. According to the report: “Israel is especially strong in water innovation, driven by the serious water scarcity that affects the region and supported by Mekorot, the highly innovative water utility that regularly partners with local cleantech start-ups.”
The presentation included a mapping of outstanding cleantech companies, with an emphasis on the “Attackers & New Entrants” – the most interesting group as these are the companies which showed the highest level of innovation in 2012. One of the only 5 companies selected for this quadrant was Israel’s Takadu, which develops innovative water monitoring networks.
The report also “categorized” the countries of the world in three groups: “cleantech innovation laggards” (such as Russia and Turkey), “start-up generators” (such as Israel, the U.S. and Sweden), and “strong commercializers” (such as Brazil and China). One of the panelists who spoke at the webinar was Meir Ukeles, Partner, Israel Cleantech Ventures in Israel, gave his perspective on the Israeli Cleantech market. He commented that since Israel has no domestic market to speak of (being such a tiny country population and area wise) its not surprising that commercialization was not its strongest point, rather the start-up nature of its population. Ukeles attributed Israel’s cleantech innovation success in large part to its culture. With many 21 year olds coming out of the Israeli defense system after being exposed to both innovative research and having often held leadership roles in their military service, they emerge motivated to lead, and with a healthy dose of self-confidence. Ukeles also commented that Israel’s more traditional strong technology arena has trickled down to the cleantech industry, and made a contribution.
Another of the panelists on the webinar, Fred Chang, Managing Director, Chrysalix Clean Energy Capital China, provided input on the Chinese market. He also described how Chinese companies are cooperating more and more with Israeli cleantech start-ups, working together to provide pilot projects and implementations for Israeli cleantech technologies in China. The Report notes that China has taken a strong initiative in cleantech, and points out that the centralized nature of China’s political system means China can move very quickly and strategically to advance its cleantech industry.