The Cleantech industry is a trillion-dollar industry with great promise. With increasing environmental concerns and awareness, the Cleantech industry can only continue to evolve. Luckily, the Canadian government noticed the potential in this industry at an early stage and has been investing in its development ever since.
As of today, Canada ranks as the number one investor in the Cleantech industry at a global level. However, although Canada has substantially invested into the development of this industry, it has also overlooked a major pillar for success – commercialization.
Even if opportunities exist for the Cleantech industry within the Canadian market, larger opportunities are available at the global level. Currently, Canada is largely serving the U.S., which is just beginning to implement initiatives toward sustainability. However, there are many countries that are actively and intensively tackling environmental concerns, such as China and India, that can serve as much more profitable markets for Canada. Nonetheless, to access these open markets, Canada needs to increase its commitment to Cleantech exportation.
At this time, it is estimated that the global Cleantech export market will generate more than $2.5 trillion in revenue this year, and Canada will only be responsible for 1.43%.
Despite their commitment to the Cleantech industry, Canada is currently only contributing $16.4 billion dollars to global Cleantech exports, ranking as #16 worldwide in Cleantech commercialization. As a result, Canada is missing out on substantial revenue and business opportunities.
The lack of investment in exportation of Cleantech may appear as a surprise since Canada is home to over 850 Cleantech developers, 12 of which rank in the top 100 global Cleantech companies. However, the lack of investment in commercialization may not be surprising as the costs associated with Cleantech is superior to other technology sectors. Nonetheless, in recent years, the Canadian government has recognized the benefits of Cleantech commercialization and has established initiatives to support Cleantech innovations.
In 2017, the Canadian government invested over $2.3 billion in the Cleantech industry.
This funding enabled companies to develop their sustainable innovations and prepare for exportation.
Shortly after in October 2020, another four-year $100 million investment was presented to fast-track the commercialization of sustainable innovations and to incentivize adoption by industries that heavily contribute to environmental concerns. This initiative was partially influenced by the global pandemic and the presented need to maintain the economy during this time.
Additionally, this funding was intended to assist in tackling another challenge in the industry– Cleantech adoption. Due to the high cost associated with Cleantech, many are hesitant to adopt these technologies. Therefore, the funds available were applied for use as an incentive for Cleantech adoption, to prepare for exportation, or to reduce production costs.
Consequently, in recent years, the demand for Cleantech has grown exponentially. Not only are individuals searching for new technologies, such as innovative solutions for greenhouse gasses and other toxins, they are also searching for Cleantech that connects with other technologies such as robotics and sensors, and for products that create a positive environmental impact as a byproduct of its usage, known as service-oriented Cleantech. Moreover, companies are also searching for enhancements to already existing Cleantech in sectors where environmental impact is vast, such as transportation and energy systems. Cleantech is no longer just about technology, it is about improving business operations.
As seen above, there is a growing demand for Cleantech both internationally and within Canada. Given the numerous markets available globally, it is crucial for Canada to invest in both the production and commercialization of Cleantech innovations. As a result, the Canadian government designed a plan to support this industry through every step necessary, and continues to support its growth efforts through funding, with the ultimate goal of becoming the global leader in Cleantech.