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[Herald Interview] ‘Every corporation should embrace clean technologies’

Global corporations should pursue revenue opportunities in such clean technologies as solar cells and smart-grids to keep up with the trend toward a low-carbon economy, said Gil Forer, the head of Ernst & Young’s global cleantech unit.

Forer said corporations should take advantage of transformational opportunities and adopt clean technologies.

“A number of factors including the growth in world population, the growing middle class and scarcity of natural resources are making it inevitable for economies to run more resource-efficient,” said the head of the global consulting firm’s newly established unit. 
Gil Forer, global cleantech leader at Ernst & Young
Gil Forer, global cleantech leader at Ernst & Young

“With the world’s worst nuclear crisis sparked at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, people’s awareness of the need for safe and sustainable energy increased,” he told The Korea Herald.

Cleantech refers to use of natural resources such as biofuels, solar energy and water sourcing to minimize negative impact on the environment.

Forer says global leaders are moving fast to increase R&D budgets in developing cleantech products.

“Over the next five years, I believe big companies will move away from the acquisition of value technologies in favor of acquiring leading technologies as they seek breakthrough revenue opportunities,” he said.

He took an example from the automobile industry. Although electric cars will find it tough to replace petrol cars, changes in consumer behavior will make companies with the best technologies the most successful ones.

“Families living in big cities like Seoul, for example, will have shorter distances to commute and the government will increasingly give incentives for environment-friendly vehicles. And the capitalistic model of two cars in a garage is also changing,” he said.

The transformation toward green growth is evidenced by increased spending on clean energy projects by governments across the world. According to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the Korean government had allocated $29.9 billion on green growth projects last year, the third biggest in size behind the U.S. and China.

“Korean companies will be able to take advantageous positions in multiple industries with the support of its government in a new future,” Forer added.

By Cynthia J. Kim (cynthiak@heraldcorp.com)
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