The Evolving Economy

What investors need to know about clean technology

Four themes driving growth 

Consumers, governments and corporations are assessing their environmental practices, and developing new clean technologies, as the impact of climate change takes its toll on the planet. 

We focus on four themes we believe are helping to drive the growth of clean technologies; responsible nutrition, sustainable transport, recycling and waste reduction and smart energy.

1. Responsible nutrition

Livestock farming uses approximately 80% of agricultural land¹ and, 70%² of global freshwater is used for growing food and raising animals. As demand on the Earth’s natural resources grow, how are our food choices impacting global water usage?³



Litres of water required*




equivalent to 109 eight-minute showers





equivalent to 54 eight-minute showers




equivalent to 9 eight-minute showers

*Based on consuming each product 1-2 times per week.

With the planets population growing by 200,000 each day⁴, more sustainable food production and agricultural technologies are being developed that could help prevent the depletion of the Earth’s natural resources. 

2. Sustainable transport

Electric vehicles (EV) are no longer the niche product they once were. Developments in technology, government intervention and a need to reduce carbon emissions have accelerated the growth in this market.

Electric car usage has grown steadily between 2013 – 2017

Number of electric cars incirculation⁵


     It is anticipated that global electric vehicles will grow at a rate
     of 33% by 2030⁶

     The cost of lithium-ion batteries has fallen by 35% over the past year⁷ 


3. Recycling and waste reduction

Only 20%⁸ of global electronic waste (e-waste) is currently recycled, and as access to technology has grown, so has the need to dispose of it responsibly.

In 2016, the approx. value of secondary raw materials in e-waste was €55bn⁸, and unless they are recycled responsibly, these materials will be lost to landfills

Potential value of aluminium, gold, and palladium in e-waste in 2016⁸

New technologies are being developed that could help reduce the amount of e-waste that is sent to landfills and recover secondary raw materials.

4. Smart energy

The smart grid is the next generation of energy distribution. Working as a two-way communication and utilising digital technology, the smart grid is designed to be more responsive to consumer demands than the existing electric grid, and can cater for growing renewable energies.

Smart grids encompass a range of technologies that could help revolutionise electricity networks

As smart grid technology grows, consumer reliance on traditional energy sources should fall and provide more opportunities for the growth of renewable energies.

What’s next for clean technology? 

Clean technologies are developing at exponential rates and providing an array of potential investment and growth opportunities: 

By 2022, 
renewable energy
capacity globally 
should increase by9


Between 2022 and 2027
the cultured meat market is
anticipated to grow
at CAGR of10


Between 2019 and 2025
industrial smart meters
are estimated
to grow at a CAGR of11



"Unsustainable human civilization on earth is now a reality. Awareness of this is steadily rising among governments, companies and consumers alike, creating opportunities for investors across the clean economy."

Amanda O’Toole, Clean Economy Strategy Manager

We are beginning to see a shift to Clean Technology investing, as more companies embrace the circular economy and respond to the need for change. 

(1)  Our World in Data, ‘How much of the world’s land would we need in order to feed the global population with the average diet of a given country?’ as at 03.10.2017,
(2)  National Geographic, ‘Thirsty Food’,
(3)    BBC News, ‘Climate change food calculator: What’s your diet’s carbon footprint?’, as at 13.12.2019. All figures for each food are global averages.
(4)    Worldometers, as at 03.07.2019,
(5)    IEA, ‘Global EV Outlook 2018’,
(6)    Deloitte, ‘Plugging into the future’. Percentage based on compounded annual growth rate, as at 05.12.2019,
(7)    Forbes, ‘Batteries, Offshore Wind Lead Clean Energy Cost Cuts As Renewables Continue to Undercit Coal and Gas’, as at 16.04.2018,
(8)    ‘The Global E-waste Monitor 2017’,
(9)   World Economic Forum, ‘The world will add 70,000 solar panels every hour in the next 5 years’, as at 21.03.2018,
(10) Marketsandmarkets, ‘Cultured meat market’,
(11) Marketwatch, ‘20.1%+ Growth for Industrial Smart Meters Market size Insights to 2025’, as at 12.03.2019,

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