Connecting SMEs for a green economy

Market mapping or system mapping

Market mapping or system mapping
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Market or system mapping is an analysis tool to closely examine the characteristics of the markets into which, e.g., green business initiatives are deployed or diffused. The process is conducted through a participatory market chain analysis which results in the creation of a market or system map. This map shows who are market, regulatory and facilitating actors, how they are connected, where inefficiencies exist and how these can be addressed. Albu and Griffith (2005) developed the market mapping tool to closely examine the characteristics of the markets into which small farmers in developing countries might enter.


Market mapping is used to examine markets or systems for green business options, explore actors' interactions, identify market barriers and solutions. Market mapping is usually applied in decisions where the problem is how to deploy and diffuse a prioritised option (e.g. a green technology) at a desired scale (e.g. all SMEs within sector X in country Y).

Process of tool application

Typical activities in a market mapping process are a workshop with stakeholders, or interviews with stakeholders first to draw preliminary map and detail it in participatory workshop setting. The market mapping process requires the organisation of a workshop (room, etc.) and preferably an experienced facilitator. An example of what a final market map could look like is the following (with enabling environment at the top, market chain in the middle and service providers at the bottom of the diagram): The map of the system can be quite detailed and have quantitative information attached to the flows of goods or services or revenues shown by the arrows. How the supporting system links to the market chain is shown as red arrows. The output of the system mapping is a snapshot of the relevant market system for a green business initiative, including the relations between the actors. This serves as a tool to identify recommended actions to increase system efficiencies for preferred pathways in the area of policies and measures, network creation, finance, removing value chain blockages, etc.


Through market mapping, an identification of actors in the market/system and their interlinkages can be made, which is much broader than individual project-level assessment. The participatory process to arrive at market map stimulates stakeholders' ownership of green business improvement processes. The market mapping process mobilises information in 'people's minds' and extends the literature review.


  • Sustainable livelihood improvement programmes led by Practical Action (mainly agricultural sectors in Africa) 2003-2005
  • ENTTRANS FP6 project: prioritise technologies for climate and development in 5 developing countries 2006-2007
  • UNFCCC Handbook for Conducting Technology Needs Assessment for Climate Change 2010 - ongoing
  • TNA Project in Montenegro 2011-2012 - IEE BIOTEAM project 2013 – ongoing