Pew Center releases survey on low-carbon business innovation

Press Release
June 7, 2011

Pew Center Contact: Rebecca Matulka, (703) 516-4146


Survey Says … Low-Carbon Innovation Vital for Future Growth
Pew Center survey of industry leaders focuses on strategies for low-carbon innovation


Washington, D.C. – Over the next two decades, low-carbon innovation will become more important for business and U.S. economic growth, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change of largely Fortune 500 companies with a demonstrated commitment to addressing climate and energy issues. Conducted in late 2010, the survey is designed to gauge business strategies for low-carbon innovation with a focus on how companies perceive the associated risks and uncertainties.

The survey, part of a larger Pew Center study to be released in October 2011, explored best practices among industry leaders. Thirty-five companies, ranging in size from $600 million to $285 billion in annual revenues and with an average annual R&D expenditure of $1.4 billion, participated in the survey.

“Leading businesses are investing today with an eye toward a future low-carbon economy.  They are focusing more on researching, developing and bringing low-carbon solutions to market,” said Judi Greenwald, Vice President of Innovative Solutions at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “The competitive edge of U.S. companies, and the strength of the U.S. economy, depend on more companies employing this same foresight and ingenuity.”

This survey is one element of a study on the most effective methods used by companies to develop and bring low-carbon solutions to market. Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Long-term, transparent climate and energy policies are critical to establishing a business environment that will allow for greater certainty for decision-making and investment in low-carbon innovations. Nearly half of the companies surveyed think putting a price on carbon is the most important action the U.S. government can take to advance low-carbon innovation.
  • Financial growth is the biggest driver for bringing low-carbon innovations to market, allowing companies to position themselves competitively in the marketplace. Other reasons for focusing on low-carbon innovation include anticipating or shaping regulatory changes, being a leader in emerging technologies or markets, and meeting consumer demand.
  • The most significant uncertainty in low-carbon innovation is policy as it relates to regulatory changes and tax/subsidy changes.
  • Public policy plays a strong role in deciding which country has the best business climate for domestic low-carbon innovation.

The survey results will be combined with insights from three workshops, four in-depth case studies, and other supporting research for the report Business of Innovating: Bringing Low-Carbon Solutions to Market, which will be released at a conference in Atlanta on Oct. 25-26, 2011. The survey and forthcoming report are being funded with a grant from Hewlett-Packard.

For more information on the low-carbon innovation project, visit

For more information about global climate change and the activities of the Pew Center, visit


The Pew Center was established in May 1998 as a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.