DAILY NEWS Dec 7, 2012 11:38 AM - 0 comments

Many clean tech companies vulnerable to global business risks: survey

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Many “clean tech” companies may not be paying enough attention to managing the risks of sourcing components and sending goods and employees across borders, suggests a new study from the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.

Wind energyMore than a third (36%) of clean tech companies have not created a supply chain disruption plan, according to the Chubb 2012 Clean Tech Industry Survey.

Clean tech refers to companies focusing on new technology and business models focused on reducing or eliminating negative ecological impacts, while still providing  competitive returns for investors and customers, according to market intelligence firm Cleantech Group.

Once mostly startup companies, clean tech organizations have become more commercialized, Chubb suggests. Still, many are still more focused on developing technology and securing funding and sales over the long-term growth of the business, Chubb notes.

Most also tend to manage risk reactively, the company says. Half of those surveyed did not have an incidence response plan for cyber security, and 59% did not have an up-to-date business recovery plan, according to Chubb. Additionally, 45% of all survey respondents have not instituted best practices to help prevent cargo theft.

Nearly three quarters of the companies included in Chubb’s survey also operate internationally, but aren’t necessarily concerned about the risks associated with working across the globe. Nearly half (45%) of the companies surveyed said they are not concerned about compliance with global regulations.

Of the 40% of the surveyed companies that rely on foreign businesses for their supply chain, 45% source components from Chinese companies, and 75% have little or no concern about supply chain stability, according to Chubb’s results.

More than half of the 71% of clean tech companies that conduct business abroad do not purchase workers compensation protection for employees who travel outside of the U.S., Cubb also noted.

"Clean tech entrepreneurs may be accustomed to taking risks, but overlooking ways to reduce supply chain and other global business exposures could affect their companies' viability," Amy Ingram, vice president and worldwide clean tech manager for Chubb noted in a statement.

"A catastrophe like the Japanese tsunami can shut down suppliers for months and sink a company that does not have a business continuity and recovery plan."

The Chubb 2012 Clean Tech Industry Survey was conducted by Hansa GCR, an independent public opinion and market research firm. It included telephone interviews with insurance decision makers at 268 clean tech companies in the United States and Canada.

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