Business leaders in the clean-tech sector remain very positive about their growth prospects over the next 12 months, according to a study carried out by the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR).

The global survey found the sector expanding rapidly despite pervading economic uncertainties like the eurozone crisis.

The Vietnamese clean-tech industry is expected to continue to grow partly because of Power Master Plan VII, which calls for an increased focus on clean technology for power production with technical assistance from the Vietnam Energy and Environment Partnership ( Denmark ), and potential technology transfer programmes with Japan .

To date, Vietnam has received significant support from international partners in implementing clean-tech programmes, projects and initiatives.

The IBR survey indicates that 68 percent of clean-tech businesses expect to increase revenues over the next 12 months compared with 52 percent of businesses globally.

Similarly, 62 percent expect profits to rise compared with just 38 percent locally. Clean-tech leaders also appear to be investing in the long-term growth of their businesses: 52 percent expect to increase R&D spending over the next 12 months and 51 percent plan to invest more in plant and machinery, both well above global averages.

Their optimism is borne out by the growth rates experienced in the sector over recent years.

According to a recent report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the sector globally expanded by 31 percent each year in 2009 and 2010. Although it slowed to 10 percent in 2011, this was still well above average GDP growth rates.

The major constraint on expansion for clean-tech businesses is red tape, cited by 41 percent of businesses, compared to the all-sector average of 34 percent.

A lack of skilled workers is cited as a growth constraint by a further 38 percent of businesses in the sector, ten percentage points up on the all-sector average.

The scarcity of talent perhaps explains why 79 percent of businesses in the sector are offering workers a pay rise over the next 12 months, compared with just 68 percent of all businesses.

"Clean-tech is still a relatively young sector so it not surprising to see innovation outgrowing talent. However, with unemployment rates high, particularly in many mature markets, rapid growth in the sector clearly offers an opportunity for economies to boost employment and output," said Nathan Goode of Grant Thornton.-VNA