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'Green shift' can help industries save $2 trn: WEF

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Leading global economies can save up to $2 trillion by 'green shift' of their industries and countries like India can significantly improve sustainable competitiveness with stronger environment policies, a World Economic Forum (WEF) report said today.

"India's sustainable competitiveness would be well served by stronger environmental policies, a more efficient use of resources, and better protection of the environment more generally," said the report on Sustainable Consumption and Resource Consumption.

"It is important to note that a number of efforts are being made in several countries that, if successful, would be expected to improve their sustainable competitiveness," it added.

The report also noted that China needs to take some strong measures in this regard, as "some of its environmental indicators raise concerns, particularly in its lack of resource efficiency and its high environmental degradation."

Geneva-based WEF said that "up to $2 trillion could be saved through resource-efficient measures across just three sectors – carbon, steel and iron – in the major economies alone".

The report noted that certain sustainability efforts were stuck in "pilot paralysis", with slow intergovernmental progress and increasing citizen-consumer impatience, as the world looks at a decade of economic and societal turbulence.

"The sustainability agenda is not an abstract development concept. 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," said Sarita Nayyar, Managing Director, Head of Consumer Industries at WEF.

The report said that a country's sustainability also increased its competitive advantage.

"India, the US and China fell more than 10 places last year, while Brazil, Kenya and the Philippines rose over 10 places on the WEF's Sustainable Competitiveness Index, which ranks the impact of natural and social wealth on a country's competitiveness," it added.

The WEF further said that the consumers were at the heart of sustainable consumption, but they care more about price, performance and convenience than sustainability.

"About 50% of consumers surveyed in over 40 countries stated that they do everything they can to protect the environment, but only a small proportion buys ethical brands and pays more for organic food," it added.

At the same time, 80% of emerging market consumers said they have more trust in a brand that is ethically and socially responsible.

First Published: Mon, January 16 2012. 19:00 IST