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2022 study places UK 4th in Europe’s ‘green innovation’ race

B-corp Bower Collective’s latest study analyses European SDG startup and green technology data

Global emissions are set to increase by almost 14% over the current decade according to the most recent Sustainable Delevopment Goals (SDG) report by the UN. To prevent this global catastrophe, the world urgently needs innovative solutions to the climate crisis.

In response, the growing green technology and sustainability market is projected to be worth $74.64 billion by 2030. To celebrate and better understand this booming sector, B-corp Bower Collective has released a 6-factor tool which maps current ‘Green Innovation’ across Europe. The study evaluates the number and type of environmental SDG startups in each country, funding for environmental SDG startups and the number of green technology patents filed per country to reveal how European businesses are contributing to the race against climate change.

How the UK ranked across all factors:

The UK scored in the top 10 for half of all six factors in the study, and scored 4th in the study overall. In the UK, 55% of all startups in the European startups database are classified as working towards at least one of the UN’s environmental sustainable development goals – far above the European average of 9%. The most popular of these is towards affordable and clean energy, with just under 4 in 10 green startups working towards this SDG.

The UK’s next highest scoring category was for the number of issued green technology patents. In the most recent data from 2019, the UK issued 1,066 green technology patents, the third most in Europe behind Germany and France. This means that around 11% of all issued technology patents were contributing towards a greener and more sustainable future.

The European average


Overall rank

Total number of green startups

% of all startups which are green

Number of issued green tech. patents

% of all tech. patents which are green

Total amount of green startup funding over 5 years

% increase of green startup funding in 5 years








In total – across the 28 countries in the study – there are more than 1,800 environmental SDG startups operating in Europe, and just under one in ten European startups are working towards a environmental SDG goal.

At the heart of many of these startups is green tech. ‘Green techology’ is defined as any technology that aims to reduce human impact on the natural environment. In 2019 just shy of 80,000 green technology patents have been recorded in the OECD library, and overall one in ten technology patents are categorised as green.

The Overall Winners

Germany came top of the study, contributing more green startups and green patents than any other country in the study. Germany also has the 2nd greatest amount of funding for green startups and 2nd largest growth in funding over the past five years.

In 2nd position, with the most investment in green funding and growth in investment over the five years, is Sweden. Over the past five years, €7.6 billion has been injected into Swedish sustainable startups, more than any other European nation.

Performing equally well, the Netherlands and France complete the top three. The Netherlands has one of the highest volume of green startups (336), and France scored highly for the number of issued green technology patents, with 1,445 listed over the last three years.

Number of startups

Germany has the most listed green startups of all the countries in the study with 364, the largest proportion of these concerning climate action (35%) and sustainable cities and communities (26%).


But not far behind Germany’s 364 startups is the Netherlands, with 336 listed corporations. The Netherlands has the most zero hunger startups (19) and startups tackling responsible consumption and production (100).

Completing the top three in this category is Denmark. Denmark has 210 listed green startups, including the 2nd most sustainable cities and communities startups and the 2nd most responsible consumption and production startups.

However, when considering the number of all startups in each country which are green, the European winners are different. The UK ranked top with more than half (55%) of all registered startups contributing towards green sustainable development goals. Norway ranked second, with 43% and Denmark third with 20% – all significantly above the average of 9%.

Most funding for SDG startups

When aggregating all sources of funding (including pre-seed, seed, series A, Series B and Series C funding) on average, a country in the study recorded nearly €1.3 billion euros worth of investment into green startups since 2018.

But since 2017, Sweden has had the most funding, with a staggering total of €7.6 billion. Germany was not far behind with €7.3 billion and France came third with €5.3 billion.

And the ranking remains the same when considering the five-year change in annual green startup funding. Sweden is investing €4.3 billion more than in 2017, Germany €3.7 billion more, and France €1.7 billion more.

Number of green tech patents

Over the past three years, Germany has registered an impressive 3,995 green technology patents — miles ahead of France, which placed second with 1,445. The UK came third with 1,066 listed patents.

But proportionally, by considering the total of all technology patents issued in each country which are green, Denmark is steaming ahead in the green tech race. Around 21% of all technology patents in the country are ‘green’, ahead of Austria (14%) and Norway (14%) all considerably higher than the study average of 9%.

Nick Torday, co- founder of Bower Collective provided the following comment on the study:

“As Bower Collective is part of the flourishing sustainable startup ecosystem, we thought it would be interesting to see who is driving innovation across Europe.

Overall it is heartening to see significant capital coming in to support businesses focused on creating a more sustainable future. The UK is in the top 5 and we certainly see lots of opportunity and innovation happening in our space, with increasing appetite from investors to prioritise impact as one of their key investment criteria”.

Please get in touch for additional and exclusive quotes from industry insiders on the study: we have sources from a variety of SDG focused startups in the UK and Europe.


Green startups: Data was collected from EuropeStartups and it looks at founded startups over the past 5 years which have the following impact goals

  • ●  Affordable and clean Energy
  • ●  Climate Action
  • ●  Life Below water
  • ●  Sustainable cities and communities
  • ●  Responsible consumption and production
  • ●  Zero hungerFunding: Collected from EuropeStartups and it looks at how much startup funding was raised over the past 5 years. Funding includes pre-seed, seed, series A, Series B etc…

    Patents in Green Technology: This was collected from the OECD website and it looks at the latest data set which dates to 2019

    About Bower Collective

    Sustainable online subscription platform, Bower Collective provides consumers with Earth’s best home and personal care products in reusable and refillable packaging. Launched in January 2020, Bower Collective is rapidly becoming the world’s leading, digital first, sustainable consumer goods company, with a community of over 60,000 customers and counting.

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