Evaluation of the Swedish environmental technology strategy
Interim report 2: follow-up of outcomes and analysis of competitiveness
The Swedish Environmental Technology Strategy and Growth Analysis’ evaluation
The Swedish government’s Environmental Technology Strategy was launched in September 2011 with the aim of coordinating development support and creating good prerequisites for the growth and export of Swedish environmental technology – from research and development, via the domestic market, to export. After 2013, 20 separate government measures within the Environmental Technology Strategy had been assigned to a total of ten governmental agencies. The Strategy is allocated SEK 100 million a year between 2011 and 2014; a total of SEK 400 million.
In order to help ensure that measures have the best possible possibilities to attain their goals, and to ensure a good knowledge base for decisions in the future, The Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis (Growth Analysis) has been tasked by the government to evaluate the Strategy’s implementation and impact on a continuous basis. This interim report focuses partly on presenting the conclusions from the follow-up of the outcomes of the measures within the Environmental Technology Strategy that was made in autumn 2013, and partly on putting the Strategy in a broader context through a study analysing Sweden’s green competitiveness in an international perspective.
The Strategy’s composition and possibilities
The Strategy’s composition and content are important to consider to be able to make a reasonable assessment of its progress. The starting point in this report is therefore the differences between the measure’s target group, distribution of resources, level of risk and time horizon to be able to give a balanced picture of the prerequisites for the measures. Among other things it can be observed that a great deal of the Strategy’s resources have been devoted to measures with a relatively high level of risk and a long time horizon.
Outcome analysis – what has the Environmental Technology Strategy resulted in so far?
The Environmental Technology Strategy has been in place since 2011 and it is now of interest to assess what outcomes have been achieved as a consequence of the measures to which the Strategy has contributed. The report presents the conclusions drawn from a comprehensive follow-up of the short-term outcomes of the various measures within the Environmental Technology Strategy.
A great number of concrete activities have been carried out within the framework of the Strategy, which is a consequence of most of the measures having been carried out according to plan. The short-term outputs of the measures are in line with what was expected. A few examples of direct outputs of the Strategy are:
- A total of approximately 100 projects (many of which are in a pilot study phase), a large number of export-promoting processes, trips by delegations, the formation of several Swedish and international cooperation consortia and several well-advanced candidates for public innovation procurements.
Very few outcomes from the Strategy’s measures have so far been able to be demonstrated. This means that even though activities have been carried out they do not seem to have influenced the target group in question in a substantive way as of yet. The outcomes we can see so far are where they were to be expected: in measures with a focus on short-term outcomes and in particular the export-oriented measures. Examples of outcomes include:
- Greater knowledge of export markets, products adapted for export markets, business relations established or developed, cooperation between Swedish and foreign partners, development of incubator processes and facilitated direct foreign investment in Sweden.
Conditions are believed to exist for most of the assignments to be able to produce the intended impact in the long run. Most, however, have a long way to go and external factors may play a crucial role in whether they are successful.
The additionality, the value added, is a risk factor in many of the assignments. Future measures in this field should focus even more strongly on supporting activities that would otherwise not have been realised.
Sweden’s green competitiveness – strengths and weaknesses
The report summarises and expands upon a recent study of the Swedish manufacturing industry’s green competitiveness. A measure of green competitiveness has been developed on the basis, among other things, of international statistics of green patents and exports. This is used to compare different parts of Sweden’s manufacturing industry with corresponding sectors in fourteen countries.
Some of the findings of the analysis are as follows:
- Sweden’s green competitiveness is relatively good compared to that of other countries, but in Europe, for example, the country is left behind by Denmark and Germany. Sweden has some prominent industries but lacks the breadth that these countries have.
- In several sectors where Sweden is competitive today, the corresponding sectors in several other countries have considerably higher levels of green innovation than Sweden. This may indicate that these countries can challenge Sweden in these sectors in a future greener economy.
A special analysis has also been made of the Environmental Technology Strategy’s companies on the basis of their industry’s green competitiveness.
- Many of the companies who receive support within the framework of the Environmental Technology Strategy can also be found in industries that today are strong exporters but show littlegreen innovation activity. This may be an indication that the Environmental Technology Strategy has the potential to strengthen Sweden’s green competitiveness by promoting these industries’ green innovation activity.
The next step in the evaluation
In 2014, the evaluation will partly focus on a complementary follow-up of the results of measures not covered by this report (mainly Business Sweden’s export-promoting measures) and partly on developing an approach for evaluating impacts of the Strategy. Impacts on both firm level and system level will be considered.
In the coming work, particular attention will be given to highlighting the function of the Strategy within the context of the whole governmental support system, since the strategy is relatively small in size but is intended to make an impression on the system as a whole.