“Green Shift” could save heavy industry over $2tr

Transitioning towards a low carbon economy could help avoid multi-trillion dollar costs that will otherwise arise from increased energy and resource insecurity, according to a major new report from the World Economic Forum.

The report, developed in conjunction with consultancy giant Accenture and due to be discussed at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos this month, argues that investment in more sustainable and efficient business models will deliver net economic benefits and help insulate businesses against the risks posed by worsening material shortages.

Entitled More With Less: Scaling Sustainable Consumption and Resource Efficiency, the report looks at the carbon, steel, and iron sectors operating in major economies and concludes that resource efficiency measures in these three industries alone could save up to $2tr.

Similarly, the report cites evidence suggesting that consumer goods industries could save $37bn by 2030 through investment in basic energy efficiency measures – savings that could rise to over $55bn if energy prices rise in line with some analysts' expectations.

"The sustainability agenda is not an abstract development concept," said Sarita Nayyar, head of consumer industries at the World Economic Forum. "There is real economic value at stake. Companies that effectively weave resource efficiency into their core strategy and operations can drive revenue growth, reduce cost and improve brand reputation."