CleanTech

CleanTech in-depth: understanding the green industrial revolution

Recently, we published a taxonomy for CleanTech. It has allowed us to identify 1,245 companies working in the field, building a novel dataset on UK CLeanTech companies. In this post, we want to share some of the things we have learnt about the green industrial revolution. Besides, we are sharing a series of interactive visualisations that will give you more details and allow you to engage with the data.

CleanTech industry verticals

We measure the size of taxonomy groups by aggregating the number of companies captured in each list.

We can see that Energy Production, Management and Storage is the largest taxonomy group. The number of companies developing these technologies has increased a 196% in the last decade, highlighting that CleanTech solutions for the energy sector are in high demand. In contrast, we can see that clean technology applied to agriculture, forestry or monitoring biodiversity is not as popular. These differences tell us that CleanTech is prioritising the technologies addressed to wider audiences: everyone uses energy but not many organisations need biodiversity monitoring systems, for instance.

Likewise, our method allows us to understand the relationships among taxonomy groups.

The diagram above visualises the interactions between segments. We measure them by identifying and aggregating the companies captured in more than one taxonomy group. It demonstrates that a company can participate in several spaces of supply or value chains, meaning that we are moving away from rigid production systems. For instance, Energy Production, Management and Storage is the segment that shares a larger number of companies with other taxonomy groups (72 in total). Particularly, it has the strongest relationship with Adapted Goods, with which it shares 25 companies. This is due to biofuels, which can be understood both as an adapted good and an energy product.

It is important to note, though, that CleanTech is highly specialised in comparison to other emergent economies. This quality is represented in our data: from the total 1,245 cleantech companies, only 102 were captured in more than one taxonomy group.

Financial Insights

CleanTech has an estimated net worth of £104.7bn and employs 26,400 people (2020). However, each segment contributes differently to overall net worth.

These figures (violin charts) measure net worth for each company and groups them around intervals. Hence, the thicker areas of the chart represent a larger number of companies. You can hover over the figures to get more details around net worth for each taxonomy. Besides, you can hide one of the figures by clicking on its legend entry once, and focus on one taxonomy by clicking on its legend entry twice. You can also zoom into specific areas, and reset the chart by clicking twice on empty space.

This visualisation shows that Mining, Fuels and Biofuels has the highest net worth. This is due to companies like Rio Tinto and AngloAmerican, large mining enterprises developing green technologies for the industry. Some could argue that these two companies are not representative of CleanTech because they extract non-renewable materials. However, they are having a significant, positive impact by reimagining the materials and methods for resource extraction. Therefore, they are key actors working towards sustainable mining practices.

Likewise, our data produces interesting insights about the industry as a whole.

 

The first plot shows that there is no direct relationship between a company’s number of employees and its net worth. This is an interesting finding, as far as higher net worth value is often related with larger employee numbers. In contrast, our data suggests a direct relationship between a company’s shareholders’ funds and net worth. This means that, for CleanTech, larger shareholder investment derives in higher net worth. This can be a consequence of large investment in CleanTech from the private and the public sectors, making it a resilient emergent economy in the COVID-19 crisis.

Wrapping up CleanTech

People are demanding a more sustainable economy. This is the starting point of CleanTech as an industrial sector, which provides an alternative to traditional industrial systems that threaten sustainability. However, current industrial classifications make it difficult to understand the industry as a whole, since there is no SIC grouping the companies we have captured. In this regard, our solutions are RTICs and the Data Explorer. They have helped us create new knowledge on the technologies and companies powering the green industrial revolution in the UK, as we have shown in this article. And they can do the same for any other emergent sector.

About the author

Fatima Garcia

Fatima’s background is in geography and the environment, after finishing her degree in Spain, Fatima decided to start a career in research in the UK. Fatima has a PhD in social and political sciences from Nottingham Trent University.