U.S. sustainability spending seen doubled by 2014

LONDON (Reuters) - The United States’ spending on sustainable business will double to $60 billion by 2014 from the current $28 billion, a report by UK-based analyst firm Verdantix said on Wednesday.

An iPhone displays the 'EcoFinder' application, developed by Alan Wells and Porter Felton of new media studio Haku Wale, that provides users with information on the nearest recycling or trash disposal facilities, in San Francisco, California November 3, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

The real boost to the market will likely occur in 2013, as the global economy improves, firms’ spending programmes mature and U.S. climate legislation is hopefully in force.

The report was based on analysis of 1,833 firms with U.S. revenues of at least $1 billion, covering 29 initiatives such as clean technology innovation, energy efficiency and carbon management over 20 industries including oil and gas, banks, utilities and retail.

The U.S. sustainable business market will exceed $32 billion in 2011, growing to $40 billion in 2012 and $49 billion in 2013, the report said.

“In the U.S. market, executive awareness of the business benefits of sustainability is on the rise,” said Verdantix director David Metcalfe.

“But the U.S. market is still two years away from rapid growth due to the sluggish global economy, delayed federal regulations and a lack of mature programmes in firms with revenues of less than $10 billion.”

From 2009 to 2014, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) will be 19 percent across all 20 industries covered by the report.

Growth rates for the spending areas vary from 4 percent to 50 percent. Spending on electric vehicles and infrastructure will grow at a 50 percent CAGR to $2.8 billion in 2014, while smart grid spending will grow at 39 percent, the report found.

Power and automotive companies will increase spending at a CAGR of 24 percent from 2009 to 2014, while the rate for banks and retailers is seen reaching just 14 percent.

“Expectations for U.S. economic growth between 2010 and 2014 are in the 1-2.5 percent range. So the 19 percent growth rate for sustainable business spending makes sustainability an attractive market,” said Vanessa O’Connell, author of the report.

Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Keiron Henderson