Manufacturing offers greater opportunities than other sectors to accumulate capital, exploit economies of scale, acquire new technologies and – more fundamentally – foster embodied and disembodied technological change. The world’s manufacturing value added (MVA) reached an all-time high of $8,900 billion in 2012 (16.7 percent of global GDP). It is thus the core of economic growth and structural transformation. (UNIDO, 2013). However, due to this industrial structural change, the manufacturing sector imposes direct pressure on the environmental and health risks associated with air pollution, hazardous substances, and waste.
Green manufacturing aims to reduce the amount of natural resources needed to produce finished goods through more energy- and materials-efficient manufacturing processes. This will involve attention to the lifecycle of the product and involving, in particular, supply chain firms and small and medium-sized enterprises. Improved resource-efficiency and decoupling can lead to competitive advantages and sustainable growth.
Relevance to the SDGs
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 calls for production processes to be more resource-efficient and for the reduction of waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse. In addition, SDG 9, target 9.2 calls for increasing the share of employment and GDP from industry in least developed countries.