Press Release from 2022-11-15 / Group, Group, KfW Research

KfW Research: Many newly founded businesses have set their sights on climate action

  • It played a role for close to 60% of newly founded businesses in 2021
  • Climate action is the focus of one in ten start-ups
  • Young entrepreneurs are in the lead, with under-30s twice as likely to have climate action offerings as over-50s

The drought-stricken summer of 2022 and new annual temperature records are clear evidence that the climate is changing. The green transformation of the economy is one of the most important tasks of our time, particularly for Germany as an industrial location. The green restructuring of the German economy is already underway, as recently founded businesses demonstrate. Climate action considerations played a part in nearly 60% of new businesses founded in 2021. They offer climate action products or services or adopt measures themselves that help to protect the climate. Almost all newly founded businesses with climate action offerings also implement climate action measures themselves.

Overall, 10% of newly founded businesses mainly offered climate action products and services in 2021. The dominant theme was renewable energy generation and energy efficiency and included commercial operation of photovoltaic solar systems, energy advice and heating and air conditioning technology. Other topics such as electric mobility and green finance played a role as well. One thing became clear with respect to the age of the business founders: The younger they are, the more likely they are to give thought to climate action. Climate action products or services are offered by around 40% of under-30-year-old entrepreneurs, 30% of 30 to 49-year-olds and 20% of over-50s.

More than half of new business founders (58%) contributed to climate action with measures of their own in 2021, with one fourth heavily engaged in such measures. This trend is also visible in planned business ventures. Thus, similar shares were seen for entrepreneurs planning new businesses as for businesses founded in 2021, with 30% intending to offer climate action products or services and 58% aiming to adopt climate action measures of their own.

“The multiple crises of the past months serve as painful reminders that we must address energy security and climate action together. The green transformation is an integral part of this. It is therefore pleasing that climate action plays such an important role for entrepreneurs. After all, their offerings are instrumental to developing the markets that are important for the green transformation”, sagt Dr Fritzi Köhler-Geib, Chief Economist of KfW.

The current KfW Research One Pager is available (in German only) at:
Economics in Brief


Portrait Christine Volk