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UNIDO, Department of Environment 

What do you think of when you see or hear of something green?

If you know how to read Persian poetry, you might be familiar with the sky being described as green at times. If you happen to speak Japanese, you might have heard of the word “ao” which can mean green or blue – depending on the situation. The modern usage of the word does not seem to be less confusing or unambiguous.

In our Department, we often think about what green means to us and especially, what it means for an industry to be green. Sustainable Business Practices often refer to the triple bottom line. A framework consisting of a social, a financial and an environmental part. In our understanding, this is one of the guiding principles driving the green industry: Only a balance of all three counterparts can guarantee inclusive and sustainable industrial development which is still profitable. This means acting and advancing in an environmentally sustainable way while growing and advancing because of it.


In a time overshadowed by the risks of a climate and ecological crisis, decoupling natural resource use and environmental impacts from economic growth is key. When it comes to developing countries, our mission might sound like an impossible task: How to create economic growth and development in less fortunate areas while at the same time safeguarding the environment?

Through our green industry approach, however, we have shown that – against common belief – sustainable practice can directly link to economic prosperity, while at the same time not excluding the social realm. For example, less waste does not only mean less environmental damage but also less expenses in prior investments and less resources needed. In this understanding, green industry is the development agenda.


We invite you to read through some of our success stories below, which tell the story of increasing profit while saving resources:


The pillars of UNIDO’s mandate of inclusive and sustainable development are based on advancing economic competitiveness, creating shared prosperity and safeguarding the environment. For us, these three things do not stand separately. If we want a sustainable and economically viable future, we need to ensure our industry does not harm the environment. We can do this, by helping countries move to clean technologies and implement environmental agreements; by providing services and expertise to promote sustainable patterns of production; and by creating new, inclusive jobs and securing resource-efficient low-carbon growth at the same time. As for the definition of green, we decided to take its multifacetedness as an asset rather than an ambiguity.