Cleantech green jobs

Published on May 24th, 2013 | by Anneli Hidalgo

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Employment growth for Swedish cleantech

The Swedish cleantech business is growing steadily. In five years, the number of employees have increased with 15 percent, according to a recent report from Vinnova, Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems.

The numbers within employing have grown from around 65,000 people to 75,000 between 2007 and 2011. A majority of these jobs, around 22 percent, can be found at consulting firms and almost as many people work within energy and resource reuse. A number of jobs are also to be found within water quality, energy and waste disposal. According to the report, the Swedish cleantech sector consists of 1 571 companies with total net sales of SEK 260 billion. Differences in growth between business segments are small. The effects of the financial crisis seem marginal. Foreign ownership is limited to large companies with high added value. In total, 6% of the companies are owned by foreign companies, representing 8% of the employees, and these companies account for 13% of the turnover.  The business segment that stands out the most for large exports, energy from non-fossil fuels and water includes companies like SEKAB, Lantmännen Aspen Petroleum, Lantmännen Agroetanol, Foss Analytical, Xylem Water Solutions, Kemira and Läckeby water. Approximately 350 companies have exports exceeding 10 million SEK.

Furthermore, the report also concludes that the environmental technology sector includes both small and large companies with their own R&D, which according to the authors can be perceived as natural considering that the companies included, develops and sells technology that is better than the standard. A number of the innovative, often young, companies are also spin-offs from academic research. An ambitious and demanding domestic market has been important for the positive development in a number of segments, which may also contribute to a continued positive development.

“Interestingly enough, these companies are spread throughout the country and are comparable in size to companies in other industries – completely contradicting the general perception that the industry consists of small players. Environmental engineering is now very much an established business,” says Johan Strandberg at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

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