A recently published report by the UN Industrial Development Organization addresses the role of industrial energy efficiency in sustainable industrial development.

The report states that improving industrial energy efficiency is a key route to sustainable industrial development worldwide – especially in developing countries. "Investing in energy-efficient technologies, systems and processes can provide environmental, economic and social dividends to achieve green growth."

Noting that "as developing countries raise their standards of living, take on a growing share of manufacturing and engage in a wider range of industrial activity, energy use is likely to continue its upward trajectory", the authors pose the question of "how to accommodate rising living standards in developing countries while moderating the pernicious effects of energy use".

The answer? - "Increased industrial energy efficiency is one of the most promising routes to sustainable industrial development worldwide, particularly in developing countries."

The report provides evidence that improvements in industrial energy efficiency continue apace but argues that "the key to sustaining these gains continues to be industrial technological change and the related economic and policy incentive system".

Industrial energy efficiency for sustainable wealth creation suggests that overcoming the multiple barriers blocking the path to full industrial energy-efficiency levels will require "public policy measures, including a sectorally coordinated energy strategy; formal and informal mechanisms, targets, benchmarks and standards; and policy designs grounded in the specific context at the country level".

The authors recommend decisive international collective action, including reducing industrial energy intensity by 3.4% a year through 2030. The UNIDO report calls for international collaborative research and development and the establishment of information clearinghouses and information exchanges to identify best practices and compare the performance of different technologies under varying conditions.

The report is available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian here: