Teija Lahti-Nuuttila: Let's be brave and think big

10/20/2015

It has been predicted that Cleantech will replace dying industrial sectors in Finland and create new business and jobs. Are we heading in the right direction and what is our position internationally?

We are among the global leaders in terms of biofuels and the technology needed for their production. We have also come a long way in terms of smart meters and energy and environmentally efficient industrial solutions. Our success is grounded in long-term research and development efforts. For example, the roots of Neste's position as the leading biodiesel producer in the world lie in research begun in the early 1990s.

Finns have traditionally been experts in refining raw material and the related technologies. Despite our success in these areas, the hottest growth areas in cleantech have been elsewhere in the last few years. If we want to secure our share of the rapidly growing cleantech market, we must shift our approach from raw materials to better understanding of the end user. This will place the focus on the development of comprehensive solutions, services and business models. Digitalisation is also opening up opportunities for rapidly scalable cleantech businesses.

New business operations are rapidly emerging in areas where consumers can cut costs through factors such as better management of energy use, efficient transport or recycling, and the sharing economy. Such businesses increasingly rely on mobile technology to operate. Buyers' decisions are motivated by effortlessness and cost savings together with awareness of environmental friendliness. This is the kind of thinking we need to understand if we wish to succeed in the market.

The need for energy and environmental solutions is swiftly increasing in developing countries across Asia, Africa and South America. Since new growth areas often lack infrastructure, solutions are being developed from scratch. Finnish companies could step up and become head architects in some markets, such as waste management in large cities, or the design of energy systems. Instead of exporting individual technologies, we should sell comprehensive concepts that satisfy the customer's needs, while seeking out the best global partners to turn our visions into reality. Cleantech is a major market – we need to be brave and think big!

Executive Director Teija Lahti-Nuuttila

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