Greening Industry in a resource constrained world

Accelerated by the Industrial Revolution, industrialization together with growing population, urbanization, and diversified hyper consumption habits have increased pressures on the environment and natural resources. New waves of technological innovations have led to differentiation in industrial production and consumption patterns, which then resulted in more intensive use of natural resources, chemicals, and accumulation of more waste than in the past.


The sustainability of environment and natural resources is becoming an increasingly important and challenging issue in such a world. Many environmentally sound approaches such as green growth/economy, circular economy, and sustainable consumption and production (SCP) have been evolving in the context of sustainable development to decrease the pressures of industry on environment and natural resources. Multilateral environmental agreements and the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” are strongly supporting these approaches. For instance, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 9 and 12 of the 2030 Agenda advise countries to ensure sustainable industrialization and SCP patterns. In this chapter, reflections of main green approaches on industry and manufacturing are discussed with linkage among SDGs, SCP, and greening of industries.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) helps developing countries to secure resource-efficient low-carbon growth. This creates new jobs while protecting the environment. They assist developing countries move to clean technologies and implement environmental agreements.


Greening of Industry is a method to attain sustainable economic growth and promote sustainable economies. It includes policymaking, improved industrial production processes and resource-efficient productivity.

The following points outlines an overview of the sectors targeted for the implementation of Greening Industry initiatives:


Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) Taking care of materials, energy, water, waste and emissions makes good business sense. RECP is the way to achieve this. RECP covers the application of preventive management strategies that increase the productive use of natural resources, minimize generation of waste and emissions, and foster safe and responsible production.


Cleaner Production (CP) RECP uses CP to accelerate the application of preventive environmental strategies to processes, products and services, to increase efficiency and reduce risks to humans and the environment. It addresses,

a) Production Efficiency: optimization of the productive use of natural resources (materials, energy and water);

b) Environmental management: minimization of impacts on environment and nature through reduction of wastes and emissions; and,

c) Human Development: minimization of risks to people and communities and support for their development.


The Stockholm Convention and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from chemicals, Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), that remain intact in the environment for long periods of time, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have adverse effects to human health or to the environment


The Montreal Protocol (MP) The Montreal Protocol is an international environment treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. Since 1989, a time table establishes the different phase-outs; for example, it has been agreed to initially phase-out hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) – a chemical compound containing hydrogen – by 2015, with a final phase-out by 2030. This area focuses on cost-effective ways to reduce ozone-depleting substances (ODS), such as freons, halons and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), in the areas of refrigeration, plastic foams, halons, solvents, fumigants and aerosol.

Chemicals Management: This areas relates to projects, policies and regulations, institutions and sectoral capacity-building, development of preventative approaches and new business models such as Chemical Leasing, to assist enterprises reducing risks and impacts associated to the use of chemicals.


Chemical Leasing (ChL): Chemical Leasing (ChL) is a strategy which creates a business environment to tackle the challenges of the changing global context and offers solutions for sound management of chemicals and reduction of emissions to the environment.


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Nowadays, requirements for the integration of environmental concerns, human rights issues, fair labour conditions and good governance in industrial development are significantly affecting the business sectors in developing and transition countries. This is referred to as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In this context, frameworks for small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) that helps translate CSR principles into a relevant SME perspective, thereby enhancing their competitiveness and market access.

Water Management The Water Management approach focuses on services to transfer the best available environmentally sound technologies and environmental practices to improve water productivity in industry, as well as prevent discharge of industrial effluents into international waters (rivers, lakes, wetlands and coastal areas). Protecting water resources for future generations is amongst the top priorities.


Energy Energy access is a global challenge which needs to be addressed. It has links in social development and poverty alleviation, environmental degradation and climate change, and food security. It is a defining issue of our time. This area aims to provide access to modern energy services for the poor, with emphasis on renewable energy projects. Efforts are focused on increasing productivity and competitiveness by improving industrial energy efficiency projects, and works on reducing GHG emissions through capacity-building projects for climate change in general, and Kyoto Protocol mechanisms in particular.

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