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Energy and environmental transition: who are the French greentechs?

04 May 2022 Business
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BPI France, public bank of investment for companies, offers an overview of French Greentech companies, which is a group of start-ups forming a strong lever in the challenge for energy and environmental transition. With 1,800 Greentech companies in France and a turnover of more than 3 bn euros, these innovative companies improve the environmental impact and answer the needs of social and economic transformation at their level.

“Who are the innovative start-ups who will sustainably transform the production and consumption habits? What are their challenges, their way of action and their potential?” To answer these questions, BPI France carried out a study based on the network of 1,800 French Greentech companies over the first quarter of 2022. This study will be used to “demonstrate the central role of these solution providers in the acceleration of ecologic and energetic transition of businesses, and their capacity to generate value”.

Classification of green companies

But what is a Greentech, exactly? BPI France provides a simple definition: it’s a start-up or an SME creating “any innovative solution designed to fight, directly or indirectly, climate change, and specifically by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water, air and soil contamination, and contribute to the preservation of raw materials and natural resources”.

In concrete terms, these companies work in various fields. In France, about one Greentech out of two works on new energies (25%) and green industries (23%). According to BPI France, the other half works on the conservation of ecosystems and environmental transition (20%), the “greening” of agriculture and agri-food (13%), clean mobility (13%) and sustainable construction (6%).

A response to the challenge of neutral emissions

What is the purpose of Greentechs? As BPI France points out, “in a context of ecological and climate emergency”, it is the Greentech concept that will enable the implementation of the initiatives necessary to achieve “the objective, set by France, of carbon neutrality by 2050. The answer to the challenge of being emission neutral by 2050 depends on Greentech at 40%”.

This is why BPI France has made it a priority to finance innovation in Greentech, investing a total of more than €5.5 billion, which is one of the components of the Climate Plan managed by the investment bank. In 2021, BPI France financed more than 900 companies in this industry up to €600 million and invested more than €200 million in 21 French Greentech companies. It is worth noting that 15% of these start-ups are Deeptechs, with an innovation “based on a technological breakthrough aimed at combating global warming”.

France is among the most active European countries

Where are the Greentechs? In 2020, France counted 800 Greentech start-ups; one year later, their number has more than doubled, according to the BPI study. These “green companies” seem to boost the French economy throughout the country: 70% of them are located outside the Ile-de-France region, with more than 60,000 direct jobs created, creating a turnover of more than 3 billion euros for the year 2021.

In addition to this activity in France, thanks to the increasingly high amounts raised by French Greentech companies to finance their growth, France has become one of the four most active European countries, after Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom. And BPI France points out that “fundraising by Greentech in these four countries has increased elevenfold between 2018 and 2021”. 

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Photo credit: © BPI France




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