Clean is more than green

Clean technology, or “cleantech,” should not be confused with the terms environmental technology or “green tech” popularized in the 1970s and 80s.

Cleantech is new technology and related business models that offer competitive returns for investors and customers while providing solutions to global challenges.

While greentech, or envirotech, has represented “end-of-pipe” technology of the past (for instance, smokestack scrubbers) with limited opportunity for attractive returns, cleantech addresses the roots of ecological problems with new science, emphasizing natural approaches such as biomimicry and biology. Greentech has traditionally only represented small, regulatory-driven markets. Cleantech is driven by productivity-based purchasing, and therefore enjoys broader market economics, with greater financial upside and sustainability.

Cleantech represents a diverse range of products, services, and processes, all intended to:

  • Provide superior performance at lower costs, while
  • Greatly reducing or eliminating negative ecological impact, at the same time as
  • Improving the productive and responsible use of natural resources

Cleantech Sectors

Determining what is or isn’t cleantech isn’t always easy. Cleantech Group established and continues to refine criteria to baseline the sector definition so as to ensure consistent reporting of data in the global markets it tracks.

Cleantech spans many industry verticals, which we have organized into 18 sectors.

View our taxonomy in i3 >>