Why Investing in Cleantech Is Good for Business – and the Planet

BY STEPHANE OUAKNINE

In the modern era of instant transactions, overnight shipping, and lightning-speed downloads, it can be easy to fall into a type of focus that centers on the short-term problems that challenge us, no matter our field of work or subject of passion.  Over the course of just a few decades, the sheer speed of interactions in the world as we know it has accelerated monumentally. However, while the ever-advancing pace of business and technology has changed many of the details of our day-to-day life, the fundamental requirements for thriving have not changed.

In order for our needs and wants to be met in the long term, we must have sustainable solutions, and sustainability goes deeper than many might think at first.  Now more than ever, our tools, entertainment options, and lifestyle staples require energy, and energy has to come from somewhere.

At the moment, much of the electricity production in North America comes from coal.  In the United States, for example, over 60% of energy production comes from fossil fuels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  The burning of fossil fuels, especially at such astronomical levels, has been shown again and again to be one of the greatest threats to our environment as we know it – not to mention our own health.  

The rise of “cleantech” aims to challenge, slow, and even reverse the damage that reliance on dangerous energy sources threatens.  Cleantech, for those unfamiliar with the term, is technology that is specifically designed for efficiency, recyclability, and sustainable or renewable use.  It’s a growing industry, especially with regard to alternative energy providers, but cleantech cannot thrive without investment.

As it stands, individuals and businesses don’t have much of a say in their energy provider, largely because energy providers have functional monopolies in their region.  With investment, however, the market opens up, and that’s good for businesses and the planet.

Imagine being able to have choices in your energy provider like you do with your telephone service provider, for example.  With competition, fossil fuel companies have to justify why their service is better than the competitor, and that’s a hard case to make when, with cleantech, you can have energy production that isn’t as dangerous and toxic.

Building businesses that last longer than just a few years requires long-term thinking, and dirty energy isn’t workable in the long term.  Cleantech promises a healthier environment and, in the long term, significantly reduced energy costs. However, clean technology cannot break through the barriers to entry without support, and that means investments from entrepreneurs who are willing to look beyond the immediate.


Stephane Ouaknine