Sustainable technologies and business models have changed the behavior of companies, governments and consumers, and have attracted the attention of investors globally. Interest in cleantech solutions can be traced back to 1960’s to environmental awareness and environmental policies, and the general attitude among business world was that developing more sustainable technologies were a hindrance for profitability.

Today, cost efficiency is often the biggest driver behind sustainable technologies. Spread of internet, software and sensor technologies are enabling significant efficiency gains in both industrial and consumer markets. A rapidly changing operating environment calls for renewal of companies’ business models to grasp the new opportunities that are global in nature.

Resources for green business models

A Nordic project called Green Business Model Innovation addresses the fundamental challenges for acquiring more in-depth knowledge and awareness regarding the benefits and effects of green business model innovation, and for supporting policies and regulation to promote it. The project was completed in 2012 and it consists of six parts: Main Report, Conceptualization Report, Policy Report, Business Case Study Compendium, Empirical and Literature Studies, Short Guide to getting started.

Frost & Sullivan conference call: Energy & Environment – Market Trends, Smart Technologies, New Fuels, Future Business Models and Growth Opportunities.

Trudy Heller´s ´Drivers for sustainable business´ videos from Green Growth programme´s Annual Seminar 2013: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Team Finland´s Future Watch Webinar: Business Model Innovation in the American marketplace.

WWF´s: Green game-changers.

Green Growth programme´s "Vihreän murroksen ajurit ja mahdollisuudet – näkökulmia liiketoiminnan uudistamisen ratkaisuihin ja rahoitukseen" seminar materials from 2011.


The most prevalent business model among sharing economy companies features an online marketplace through which the demand for certain assets or services amongst the users is matched with the ownership of those assets and services by other users. Companies´ differentiation strategies could be either demand-driven, supply-driven or a combination of both.

Examples of Green Growth enterprise projects

Coreorient develops ride sharing for goods

Coreorient’s idea is to develop a ride sharing service for goods, in which consumers and other players transport goods to locations en route to their own destinations. PiggyBaggy ride sharing allows for both a 24/7 service as well as home delivery at a cheaper price and in a more environmentally friendly manner. The service is also independent of rising oil prices and higher maintenance costs.

“The role of the Tekes Green Growth programme has been significant and indispensable. It has brought credibility to discussions with other partners and made it possible for us to develop our activities through the financing.”

Harri Paloheimo
CEO, Coreorient Oy

RePack – reusable packaging

RePack´s idea is to develop a reusable packaging model that works similar to bottle deposit-refund system. The model has already been piloted with customers such as Isku and Globe Hope. In addition to brand owners and logistics companies in Central Europe and the United States, e-commerce growing 20% annually is one of RePack´s most promising customer segments.

“Tekes funding has enabled us to concentrate on product development. RePack combines packaging design, logistic operating model, and a new business model. Integrating all these requires testing and iteration, which would not have been possible without Tekes.”

Jonne Hellgren
Leader of the RePack,
Suunnittelutoimisto Peruste

Read More:

Kauppalehti, 14.10.2014: Verkkokauppaan tarjolla kierrätyspakkausmalli.


One of the growth areas in the transition to a green economy is digitalization, which is receiving increasing attention worldwide through various policies and initiatives. Digitalization, including information and communication technologies (ICT), digital services and digital value creation, can be seen as a key enabler of green growth in all sectors of the economy. It is important to understand the link between digitalization and global megatrend dynamics such as energy efficiency, waste management and new business models. Greener and smarter digital services provide better environmental performance in the economy and society through enabling and systemic impacts, for example, by making production more resource-efficient or by changing the behavior of individual consumers.

Examples of Green Growth enterprise projects

Futuremark’s energy efficiency indicator

Futuremark´s idea is to develop a reliable energy efficiency indicator for PC and mobile devices. The market currently has no energy efficiency indicator produced by a neutral supplier. Futuremark want to make energy efficiency measurement part of its business and is aiming for approximately 50 percent annual growth in turnover.

“The Tekes Green Growth programme provided funding for our project, which allowed us to enter the market earlier and make the first version significantly more extensive than it would have been without the funding.”

Jani Joki
Head of Benchmark Team,

Solved has a digital solution for global environmental challenges

Solved offers a diverse team of top experts on a digital platform that can rapidly change a customer’s environmental problems into profitable business. The aim is to expand operations to new markets and turn Solved into a world-class brand and company that uses digital tools and the best cleantech expertise to solve environmental challenges around the world.

“Tekes funding has provided us with the opportunity to develop our services and business. Tekes has also added credibility in terms of the uniqueness of our idea. Without the support of Tekes, we wouldn’t have been able to build such a strong foundation for our company.”

Janne Hietaniemi
CEO and President,
Solved – The Cleantech Company Oy


Companies are increasingly recognizing that sustainability can be a source of innovation that can help them become more competitive by developing new products and services, or by creating new innovative business models. Achieving sustainability by business model innovation requires long-term thinking.

Examples of Green Growth enterprise projects

GreenStream develops energy efficiency in China

In the business of saving energy, the value of savings is shared by the buyer of the technology and the supplier. SMEs offering energy efficiency solutions get access to the Chinese market. Chinese industrial companies can meet their energy efficiency goals without initial investments. GreenStream invests in energy saving projects and earns part of the value of the energy that is saved.

“Our success story speaks of the courage to change along with the world and with China and of our ability to network. Our recent agreements with Chinese state-owned companies are an indication of the significant role of the Finnish government and Tekes and of a true Team Finland spirit.”

Jussi Nykänen
CEO, GreenStream Network

Gaia Consulting’s Biorefiner service

Gaia Consulting´s idea is to create the world´s best and most easily understood service for evaluating the sustainability of value chains in the growing bioeconomy. The Gaia Biorefiner service launched in 2013 is now utilised by Finnish and international companies. Gaia continues to develop its business model in search of growth, especially in the biofuel, biochemical and biomaterial markets of Northern and Central Europe.

“The Tekes Green Growth programme and its funding has made it possible to develop the service and the related innovative business model.”

Tiina Pursula
Business Director, Gaia Consulting Oy

Eera’s international network collaboration model

Eera’s idea is to develop a new kind of network cooperation model for cleantech companies for international projects. Eera seeks to use the concept for new target markets and to grow its own turnover and that of its clients. The goal is to expand the clientèle of the network model from Finnish cleantech companies to companies and public administration in the target countries.

“The Tekes Green Growth programme served as an incentive for development work of the concept, making it possible to take an economic risk.”

Martti Malmivirta
Executive Chairman,



Eco-innovation is defined as ´any innovation that reduces the use of natural resources and decreases the release of harmful substances across the whole life-cycle´1. Many studies and policy documents recognise that developing eco-innovation capabilities and practices has significant commercial potential across all economic sectors. Research is needed to reduce uncertainty about future market developments and accelerate innovation in environmental technologies, products and services.

Examples of Green Growth research projects

Roadmap for strengthening the competitiveness of the Finnish cleantech sector

The key idea in the project is to develop mechanisms for companies´ industrial renewal and a new portfolio model instrument to support it. The project lays out an implementable roadmap for strengthening the competitiveness of the Finnish cleantech sector, marking a path of concrete milestones away from the linear, rigid and cost-driven value chain model that is still characteristic of Finnish cleantech, and towards an adaptive, value generation- and renewal- driven business ecosystem model. The overall aim is to increase the amount of investments and enable the funding of industrial renewal.

The project is a joint effort with CLEEN Ltd., RYM Ltd., the Finnish Cleantech Cluster (coordinated by LADEC Ltd.), and the Global CleanTech Cluster Association.

Creation and spreading of eco-innovations in business ecosystems

The key idea in this project is to develop a model in which growth companies are encouraged to incorporate environmental aspects in their business. An important part of the project is to determine the role of business ecosystems in the creation of eco-innovations. The project will identify factors producing eco-innovations and opportunities for co-development. The project supports joint procurement of LED lights and creation of an innovative heating system

Strategic business models and governance for sustainable solutions

The key idea in StraSus project is to explore how networked companies should improve their sustainability-based decisions as a part of their product and service development processes. The transition towards sustainable products, services and production will require significant shifts in the design, manufacture and use of products and services. The project creates new ways which support the sustainable value creation and its measurement and validation in the networked business from the perspective of involved stakeholders, and over different life cycle phases of product-service systems.

More information:

EU Eco-innovation Scoreboard 2013.

Eco-Innovation Observatory Country Profile: Eco-innovation in Finland 2013.

The Eco-Innovation Observatory.



Due to the increased scarcity of natural resources and measures to mitigate climate change, the operational environment of companies is changing rapidly. To support the dynamic operational environment, the Green Growth programme offers structured and sector-specific market information and foresight in order to generate necessary knowledge and strategic competences for Finnish organizations to grasp the business opportunities in the area of sustainable economy.

The Green Growth programme has been collecting and refining foresight information in the area of sustainable economy, and actively distributing it to the actors in a structured manner through our events, newsletter and other ways of communication.

During 2013 and 2014, the Green Growth programme offered participating SMEs sparring from experienced professionals that aimed to support the companies in the challenges of growth, internationalisation and the business models of sustainable development. The sparring service has offered valuable insight for growth oriented SMEs. Fourdeg is an example of a successful sparring case. Fourdeg is developing energy saving products and services for water radiator heated buildings.

The programme has engaged in close cooperation with the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, the Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation (SHOK), the Academy of Finland, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and different ministries.

All our reports, event materials and supporting information can be found here.

Smart solutions to global challenges

The most important drivers for companies to initiate green business model innovation are the increased consumer awareness towards sustainability, and the opportunity to create a competitive advantage by differentiating their products and services by being more greener and sustainable than their competitors.

There are several different business models in the green growth area. Innovative companies are able to find their competitive advantage not only from superior technology but also from better understanding of customers’ needs and the global megatrends. There are many examples of innovative companies in the Green Growth Programme that are utilizing the opportunities offered by digitalization and the sharing economy.

Digitalization and the sharing economy
The rise of the sharing economy is changing consumer behavior. The emerging model has the potential to disrupt whole industries.
Digitalization, including ICT, digital services and digital value creation, are the key enablers of green growth in all sectors of the economy.
Sustainability is a source of innovation that can help companies become more competitive in the global markets.

Green Growth programme is funding research projects that are studying the conceptual knowledge needed for developing sustainable business strategies, the transformation of support systems to more effectively generate eco-innovation, and projects that are developing guidelines for sustainable eco-innovative construction business models.

In addition to funding, Green Growth programme is supporting companies in the challenges of growth, internationalization, and the business models of sustainable development by offering participating SMEs sparring from experienced professionals. At tailored meetings with individual enterprises the sparring partners help SMEs in the strategic renewal of business models and on the path to growth and internationalization.
Green Growth is also offering foresight that aims to provide competitive advantage for Finnish actors. Reports, surveys, webinars, conference calls, workshops and latest news aims to provide valuable information to everyone who is interested in the opportunities for business in the sustainable economy.