UNIDO政策简报 | 协调低碳消费、生产和创新的关系是绿色工业发展必要的政策行动






Many studies have shown that industrial policy plays an important role in national economic development. Currently, in the context of the global response to the climate challenge, the greening of industrial policy is receiving increasing attention from academics and policymakers.


For developing countries to achieve structural economic transformation and high-quality growth, adopting green industrial policies is a necessary pathway, which usually covers a series of measures formulated and implemented by governments. The objectives of such policies include driving economic growth, improving resource efficiency, and promoting green and low-carbon innovation and technology development. As energy use in developing countries tends to be highly path-dependent, there is a higher risk of being confined to a development model that relies on heavy resource consumption, making them vulnerable to the dilemmas associated with overdependence on high-carbon emission sources. The implementation of green industrial policies can help developing countries circumvent these constraints, promote structural transformation and high-quality growth, and enhance their position in the value chain.


This paper introduces a new analytical framework for green industrial policy: that is, starting from consumption-centered, firm-level sustainable production and innovation-driven production, it proposes that governments need to adopt comprehensive measures when formulating relevant policies to achieve a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy while generating benefits at the economic level. In this process, the extensive influence and platforms of international organizations can help governments and enterprises better integrate into international norms, gain more support, and accelerate the achievement of carbon reduction and other sustainable development goals. As part of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, ITPO Shanghai's mission is to mobilize investment and technology for sustainable industrial development. In doing so, we build global partnerships and provide policy advisory services to governments and businesses alike, acting as a bridge to advance the SDGs and forming the basis for achieving economic prosperity.



Xiaolei Zhao

Head of UNIDO ITPO Shanghai



Policy action for greening industrial development: coordination low carbon consumption, production & innovation

Authors:Guendalina Anzolin (University of Cambridge),

                Amir Lebdioui (University of Oxford and SOAS, University of London)

Editor:UNIDO ITPO Shanghai, LI Bowen

Source: UNIDO Policy Brief Series



Climate change raises important questions for the sustainability of industrialization as a development model, a model that has allowed countries to prosper over the past two centuries. Industrial policy remains as relevant as ever; it is increasingly being recognized as a key ingredient of the transition to a low-carbon future. The global discourse around climate change mitigation often focuses on what we as individuals can do to reduce consumption. Greener consumption is crucial if we are to achieve the sustainability goals, but we will not reach them without simultaneously implementing a shift towards green manufacturing and low carbon innovation. The most effective green industrial policies coherently cut across three distinct dimensions: (i) the consumption-centred dimension; (ii) the firm-level sustainability dimension, and (iii) the productionist innovation-driven dimension. A holistic and complementary approach across these three dimensions is necessary to ensure a coherent transition towards a low carbon economy which also delivers benefits at the local level, such as job creation.



1. Introduction

Climate change is increasingly occupying more space in the development agenda. Whether the majority of countries can effectively address the challenge of mitigating climate change while simultaneously ensuring growth and poverty reduction remains debatable. As the pressure to meet the sustainability goals continues to grow, industrialization as a development model is facing rising scrutiny. Industry is closely connected to climate change: energy use in industry accounts for 24.2 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while the share of GHG emissions from direct industrial processes is 5.2 percent. In the context of a low-carbon future, a fundamental shift towards industrial greening is therefore indispensable.


There is increasing recognition that green industrial policy is key in driving structural transformation towards a more sustainable and greener economic system, especially in light of the long-term investments associated with green activities. While the term ‘green industrial policy’ has gained in popularity in recent years, it is interpreted in different ways. We have developed a new framework that identifies the different dimensions of green policy action. The global discourse around climate change must shift from a purely consumption-focused perspective to a more holistic approach that takes production and innovation dynamics into account.


2. Industrial greening: different dimensions for coordinating consumption and production


While the general discourse has focused on the urgency of shifting consumption towards “greener” products and cleaner energy sources, surprisingly little attention has been paid to what such a shift to greener consumption entails, namely a transformation of our productive structures. Hence, the challenge of climate change mitigation goes beyond “consuming less”, because it also involves changing the way we produce to sustain low carbon consumption patterns. Manufacturing continues to be the main driver of development due to its unique properties such as employment creation, vertical and horizontal spillovers to other sectors, and serving as the bedrock of technological innovations.


We have developed a new framework to help compartmentalize the wide range of “green” policy instruments, their objectives, time horizons, strengths, and limitations. Our framework and matrix (summarized in Figure 1) show that green policy actions (including both market-based mechanisms and more interventionist approaches) cut across three different dimensions, which can be used to achieve different policy goals, but which also need to be carefully coordinated to ensure their sustainability and to maximize the industrial benefits associated with a low carbon transition.


Fig 1. The Three Dimensions of Green Industrial Policies


3. Key Considerations for Successful Green Industrial Policy

In developing countries, early greening rather than delaying the implementation of measures (‘growing now and cleaning up later’) can generate a range of co-benefits, while these countries gain a foothold in the markets of the future, avoiding asset stranding, and the risk of locking their economies into energy-intensive pathways as energy systems tend to have high a path dependency. Indeed, the green transformation and the related technical-economic paradigmatic changes across institutional, market and technological domains are opening up so-called green windows of opportunity for emerging economies to become leaders in new sustainability-related industries. Seizing such green windows of opportunities is no easy task, however. Major challenges must be overcome, especially in relation to building up basic and intermediate production capabilities, which are often lacking in developing countries. These production capabilities must be reinforced by coordinated green industrial policies that coherently cut across the three dimensions we have identified. The development of production capabilities is crucial as developing countries are in a unique position to embark on a path of industrialization based on specific technologies, such as solar, wind and tidal energy, which will also bolster local development. Although there clearly is no one-size-fits-all all, a holistic approach is needed both in terms of policy instruments and objectives, which, inter alia, will maximize the socio-economic spillovers of green transitions. In addition to increasing access to low-carbon solutions, green industries can generate wider socio-economic benefits beyond those in the environmental domain (such as skilled job creation, expansion of productive capabilities, foreign exchange revenues and macroeconomic resilience in the face of transition risks).


Although the most effective green industrial policies coherently cut across the three dimensions we have identified, each country’s political, social and economic characteristics, such as the starting composition of their productive structures, the size of their domestic market, policy ambitions, development needs, and the strength of domestic social coalitions in support of a green agenda, profoundly influence the way policymakers choose to address the different dimensions of green industrial policy, as well as more generally the speed and scale of the decarbonization process. Researchers and policymakers can draw valuable lessons from studying the experiences of industrialized economies (such as the EU, Japan, the Republic of Korea, or the United States) and large developing economies (such as Brazil or China). Their experiences may not often be easily replicable, however.


We must also bear in mind that innovation is often path-dependent on productive capabilities. Green industrialization requires the existence of a range of (often pre-existing) capabilities at different levels (both individual and collective). China was already industrializing before it emerged as the leading low-cost producer of photovoltaic cells and modules; in Brazil, the success of the wind turbine manufacturing sector relied on its ability to leverage the pre-existing domestic capabilities in aircraft manufacturing. In addition, the Chinese example—as well as the Brazilian one, albeit to a lesser extent—may be unique given their domestic markets’ unusually large size and the relatively high capacity of the State to design and implement a coherent set of policies.


4. Conclusion

In the context of a century that will be characterized by the global fight against climate change, we should also not forget that the status quo is unlikely to help developing economies leap to the development frontier. Climate change will continue to have an increasingly serious impact on trade and development across the globe, which seriously jeopardizes human livelihoods, economic productivity and food security, especially in developing countries. It is undeniable that the quest for more sustainable development models requires bolder policy steps towards greener industrial models based on the inclusive expansion of low carbon industries.




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To read the original version:

IID Policy Brief 5 - Greening industrial development - FINAL_0.pdf (unido.org)