If Smart Money Is Now on “Cleantech,” Where Should Philanthropy Go?

Windmill.bmp According to Daniel C. Esty, coauthor, Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value and Build Competitive Advantage , in Fast Company, June 2007:

For businesses, the lesson [in the April Supreme Court ruling that climate science was clear enough to mandate greenhouse-gas emission controls under the Clean Air Act] is indisputable: In a low-carbon future of EPA-mandated incentives and penalties, energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, and carbon capture become worth investing in.

While Big Auto whines about (and sues over) the prospect of carbon-dioxide limits on cars in Vermont and California, the smart money is riding on the “cleantech” tide. Venture capital will pour more than $30 billion into such startups this year, three times the total in 2005.

We’ve argued previously, with the help of The Economist, that where business moves in, philanthropy should move on. The CleanTech Index United States, with a market capitalization of $128m, is an example of the growing maturity of business investment in environmental sustainability.

What we’d love to see these venture capitalists do, perhaps with the help of the Cleantech Network (an industry research body) is let us know what areas of green investing are critically important but still too risky for venture investment. Areas where philanthropy can play the angel investor and catalytic role it plays best. Any takers from the cleantech investing world?

Carla E. Dearing

Posted at 6:47 AM on July 24, 2007 | Print


Great question, Carla -- my take is at www.cleantechvc.com. Hope others lob in their thoughts as well. Cheers, Rob

Posted by: Rob | August 1, 2007 10:16 AM


I hope you will post the results of your query on cleantech philanthropic targets. I hope you get a substantial response, but I am guessing that you will not. I am interested in how one could mobilize extensive user-generated input on meritorious targets of giving on a global basis.



Posted by: Edward M. Stadum | August 14, 2007 05:51 AM