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In November 2012 General Motors (GM) opened its new GM China Advanced Technical Center in Shanghai, as part of its global network of Research and Development (R&D) labs. This new research centre employs 300 scientists to conduct research on lightweight materials and battery cells for the development of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles, such as the new ENV 2.0.
Anja von Moltke, Acting Head of UNEP's Trade, Policy and Planning Unit, outlines the imperative for greening international trade, as presented in the new UNEP Report: "Green Economy and Trade - Trends, Challenges and Opportunities."

The manufacturing sector’s value-added as a percentage of GDP is 16 per cent for the world average, 9 per cent for low-income countries, 22 per cent for middle-income countries and 15 per cent for high-income countries (World Bank 2014). More broadly defined, “industry” (excluding agriculture and services but including manufacturing, extractives and construction) accounts for 11.6 per cent of global employment (ILO 2015). The manufacturing sector imposes direct pressure on the environmental and health risks associated with air pollution, hazardous substances, and waste.

Green manufacturing aims to reduce the amount of natural resources needed to produce finished goods through more energy- and materials-efficient manufacturing processes. This will involve attention to the lifecycle of the product and involving, in particular, supply chain firms and small and medium-sized enterprises. Improved resource-efficiency and decoupling can lead to competitive advantages and sustainable growth.

Relevance to the SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 calls for production processes to be more resource-efficient and for the reduction of waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse. In addition, SDG 9, target 9.2 calls for increasing the share of employment and GDP from industry in least developed countries.

SDG 9.2
   Manufacturing Jobs in LDCs   
   SDG 12.2
Natural Resource Management


Best Practices

Macquarie University, University of Newcastle, Australia
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Learning Products

United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC)
Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)

Batumi Initiative on Green Economy (BIG-E)

Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus)
International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Networks (IPEN)