I recently celebrated my birthday and, as is typical of such events, it initiated some self-reflection. One area of reflection involved career choice. I wondered: Are those of us dedicating valuable time and careers to cleantech making good decisions? Putting aside the role that cleantech may play in avoiding a planetary/environmental disaster, what about a strictly practical or financial perspective? Will cleantech provide us with good returns on our capital (or time)?
Those of us in the industry clearly have confirmation bias. Quite simply, we’d all like to think we aren’t wasting our time (and money). But what points might we make to outsiders evaluating the industry as an investment thesis? Here’s a few:
- Follow the signal, not the noise: We at Cleantech Group have monitored the ups and downs of the industry since we helped define it as an investment category a decade ago (see here). We’ve seen results change significantly from quarter to quarter. While these findings are valuable in helping investors refine tactics, it’s important to recognize that cleantech markets are being driven by macro trends that will play out over the next few decades. These include issues like urbanization, geopolitical instability, international competition, global resource scarcity, and the need for greater productivity and efficiency. These trends will ebb and flow over time, but will not go away anytime soon. This is why we believe the cleantech opportunity will