Green cities and industry key to sustainable future

March 3, 2015
Report finds strong link between sustainable cities and industrial energy efficiency in growth economies

The projected growth of cities coupled with higher energy demand spells trouble for urban poor and the environment if industry doesn’t improve its energy efficiency, says a new report by the Institute for Industrial Productivity.

The report, “The Role of Industry in Forging Green Cities”, shows that sustainable cities that have cleaner local industries will be better poised to meet the environmental and social challenges associated with burgeoning populations.

Co-author Jigar V. Shah, Executive Director of the Institute for Industrial Productivity, said traditional methods of pushing industry out to city fringes to manage pollution, along with urban poor, have come at a high cost, but creating sustainable cities will be the key to reversing this trend.

“We will need to develop more sustainable cities – that are compact, connected and well managed – and manage their hunger for energy through industrial energy efficiency processes and technology, and the smart reuse of waste and energy,” he said.

Building green cities will require strong leadership by national and local governments, said co-author Chris Sall.

“With more and more of the world’s population moving to the cities, we can expect a massive strain on cities’ infrastructure and resources.  Smart urban planning, better access to basic services, good leadership, transparent processes, and integrated authority will ensure cities are well-positioned to mobilize greater resources for energy efficiency. Cities should focus on the basics first and lay the groundwork for progressively more ambitious actions,” he said.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Industrial energy demand will remain relatively flat in OECD countries and in the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe, but it will increase dramatically in the emerging economies of Asia, including in China and India, and to a lesser extent in the Middle East and Africa.
  • Over the next few decades, industry will remain a vital feature of the global urban economy, providing more than a billion jobs and generating nearly 30 percent of economic output.
  • Greenhouse gas emission profiles of cities are varied but confirm the importance of urban industry as an end user of energy and an emitter of carbon in fast-growing regions.

 

The report, “The Role of Industry in Forging Green Cities”, is available here.