Israel comes first in Cleantech Innovation Index 2014

Israel Cleantech

The Cleantech Group, a Swedish-based international monitor, recently published the results of a study ranking countries by the innovation in their cleantech sector. The study placed Israel first in the world, above Finland, the United States, Sweden and Norway.

19 of the top 100 cleantech companies are based in Israel, according to a survey of industry experts. Israel also has a disproportionate number of cleantech-related patents.

The Global Cleantech Innovation Index has been published annually since 2012 by the Cleantech Group and the WWF, with Israel regularly listed among the world leaders in the field. The study looks at absolute and relative factors in comparing the state of innovation in the local economies. Countries and companies are judged using four parameters. Two measure inputs to innovation: general innovation drivers and cleantech-specific drivers; the rest of the score is measured by outputs of innovation, namely, proven emerging cleantech innovation and commercialized innovation.

The report singles out Israel, saying: “The country generates the culture, education and ‘chutzpah’ necessary to breed innovation, plus it has the survival instincts to manage a resource-constrained geography.” Like many countries on the list, Israel scored lowest in commercialization of the innovation, showing that despite many acquisitions and mergers taking place, the realization of the economic potential has plenty of room for growth.

The Israeli government was especially praised for its contribution to innovation in the field, pointing out its supportive role in cleantech startups and the strong venture capital funds that exist in the country. Commenting on the report, Oded Distel, who heads the ‘Israel NewTech’ project for the Israeli Ministry of Economy, said: “We’re happy to see many of Israel’s cleantech companies succeeding and the international community taking note.”

Cleantech has been a buzzword for a number of years now, and refers to clean technology which does the same tasks as traditional industry, but employs renewable energy or material sources, and dramatically cuts or eliminates harmful waste products. An inherent factor in cleantech technologies is financial viability, and the Cleantech Innovation report took this factor into account in compiling the scores.

The report gave two examples of successful Israeli cleantech companies: Kaiima, who develop new strains of seeds for agricultural use, and Emefcy, an industrial waste disposal company.