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International market opportunity analysis for the Scottish water and wastewater sector


The purpose of the research was to assess the international marketplace for water and wastewater, and to identify those markets and market regions which offer the optimum export potential for Scottish companies. The research sought to match the export opportunities against the capabilities and strengths of the sector in Scotland, and present an overview of each export market identified, and the specific opportunities and routes into each export market for Scottish companies. The report provides a breakdown of the main findings for each market, and sets out a series of recommendations arising from the research.


The methodology consisted of desk-based research, and primary and secondary market research.


The research highlighted a number of significant market opportunities for Scottish companies in a range of individual export markets, matched with the company base and the emerging strengths of the Scottish water and wastewater sector. It was recognised that export opportunities exist in all the markets considered (Central Europe, Southern Africa, China, India, Ireland, North America and South East Asia), and Scottish companies are active across all of these markets. Four markets selected for more in depth study in terms of the specific export opportunities for Scottish companies – Canada, India, Poland and SE Asia (which includes Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand) – were considered to offer significant export opportunity, but Scottish companies appeared less aware of these market opportunities than the more traditional markets of Europe and the USA. The study found that: there are significant opportunities in Canada across the areas of smart flood protection, soil remediation, and membrane solutions and technology to treat highly charged wastewater in particular; water, wastewater and contaminated groundwater treatment products and services are all in high demand in India and represent the primary current export area of opportunity for Scottish companies; Poland offers opportunities for Scottish businesses, particularly in the areas of wastewater treatment and infrastructure improvements; and SE Asia offers opportunities of varying scale and potential for Scottish companies. The research showed limited awareness and profile of the Scottish water and wastewater offering in international markets, outwith individual companies, however there was good awareness of some of the more traditional strengths and reputation of Scotland in the fields of: Scottish engineering, and science and technology; academic teaching and research; and oil and gas industry experience.


A series of recommendations were made, and include: greater collaboration across the sector should take place; the industry should engage fully with the support mechanisms available through Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise; technical export workshops covering key areas such as licences, export documentation, and individual market specifications would assist companies to better understand and develop the export opportunities in each market; a compelling international Scottish proposition for the sector with cross industry engagement should be developed; appropriate tailored support for companies committed to actively developing the export markets highlighted should be developed; and the sector itself in Scotland should look to establish an international forum, to facilitate cross sector engagement in terms of both export market experience and knowledge, and routes into the different markets.

Author Upper Quartile LLP
Published Year 2015
Report Type Research
  • Internationalisation
    Exporting, Internationalisation of Scottish businesses