Denmark, Israel and Sweden provide the best conditions for clean technology start-up companies, says the WWF. The Global Cleantech Innovation Index evaluated 38 countries. Germany ranked sixth, Russia came last.
Denmark has topped an index of 38 countries taking action to promote new business solutions to environmental problems, like climate change.
It stood out for its "unique combination" of a supportive environment for green-minded entrepreneurs, the number of clean technology start-ups emerging there, and its strong track record of commercializing innovations.
Small economies and northern European countries distinguished themselves, with Israel, Sweden, Finland and the United States rounding out the top five countries of this year's Global Cleantech Innovation Index, published by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Germany ranked sixth while Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Russia ranked last.
The results were based on 15 indicators including entrepreneurial culture, supportive government policies, numbers of patents and numbers of success stories.
Population size and gross domestic product were also taken into account. Though the top four countries have small economies, the United States and Germany ranked close behind thanks to large domestic markets where successful enterprises can scale up.
On the right track
Samantha Smith, leader of WWF's Global Climate and Energy Initiative, said the index revealed that several countries were "on the right track," but that much more needed to be done to "achieve a transition towards a global 100 percent renewable future."
"The overwhelming majority of capital required for making the transition to a low-carbon future will come from a variety of private sources," she added.
Germany had strong general innovation inputs, the report found, but lacked an entrepreneurial culture. "Given the size of the economy, Germany has seen relatively little money raised in cleantech-focused funds. However, the country has the strongest government policies in support of cleantech and an attractive infrastructure for renewables," the report said.
China and India ranked 13th and 12th, but showed future potential as they already had strong centers for cleantech production and can account for "increasingly supportive governments, large sums of private money ready to be invested, and massive domestic markets."
Russia came last on the index due to "poor general innovation inputs and entrepreneurial culture."
Author: Sarah Steffen
Editor: Nathan Witkop