As St Patrick’s Day celebrations approach, it is worth reflecting on the tradition of the world ‘going green’ for one day every year. And, then knowing that the world has changed. It might have been the horrors of Ukraine’s invasion and the subsequent energy crisis which ended St. Patrick’s annual monopoly on lighting-up the planet’s most famous monuments, but that one-day colour make-over has now been adopted to drive an everyday existential mission for Europe and the world. Climate change threatens us all and has prompted an update Communication on the European Green Deal from the EU Commission in the past week. The Commission’s messaging was stark and clear:


*2023 was the hottest year on record.


*A whopping 37% of Europeans already feel personally exposed to climate risks.


*The most recent data from the European Environmental Agency indicates air pollution caused 240,000  people to die prematurely in the EU in 2020.


*€1 trillion from NextGenerationEU Recovery Plan and the EU’s 7-year budget will finance the EU Green Deal.


Back in October 2023, the Commission detailed the Green Deal Industrial Plan, which is designed to scale up mass production of clean technologies in the EU. Indeed, Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, was in no doubt that an industrial revolution is under way.


“We have a once in a generation opportunity to show the way with speed, ambition and a sense of purpose to secure the EU’s industrial lead in the fast-growing net-zero technology sector. Europe is determined to lead the clean tech revolution.”


SilverBack’s own mission statement features its commitment “to build the industry of tomorrow” and, as Stockholm’s parade sponsors for St Patrick’s Day again this year, we believe Sweden is a fantastic illustration of Europe’s determination to drive the cleantech revolution. Of course, there is a touch of Irish green in the cleantech story as SilverBack and many other Irish firms are key players in the construction of battery gigafactories, hydrogen-fueled manufacturing plants and high-precision life sciences facilities, not just in Sweden but across Europe. The most recent available data (2022) from Enterprise Ireland highlights the rapid growth of Irish exports of goods and services to Europe in the hi-tech construction sector:


*Engineering exports to EU increased by 21% to €2.33 billion


*Hi-tech construction &housing exports increased by 17% to €2.79 billion


*The top 10 Irish contractors (per Irish Construction News) generated a combined €4 billion of sales globally (ex Ireland).


Undoubtedly, these figures grew again significantly in 2023 as investment accelerated into industrial projects shaping Europe’s decarbonised future. We have written previously about the huge funding rounds achieved by two Swedish companies, H2 Green Steel and Northvolt,  but we have also seen corporate investment activity pick up in the hi-tech construction and engineering sector. Ireland’s H&MV Engineering, majority-owned since 2022 by UK private equity firm, Exponent, has recently purchased Tipperary-based Skanstec,  Blackstone is reportedly acquiring Winthrop Technologies and Jones Engineering was bought by US-based Cathexis Holdings in 2022. Clearly, there will be more green cleantech deals, and not just Irish ones.


At a European level, the EU Green Deal is thankfully a real multi-year mission to lead in the net-zero technology sector. So, from Stockholm, we take a St Patrick’s Day opportunity to wish all our staff, partners and clients well, as we work together for a successful everyday green future.


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SilverBack Social


March 13, 2024



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