LEDS in Practice: Gain the competitive edge to realize the benefits of low emission development

Submitted by Anna Hickman | published 30th Jun 2016 | last updated 11th Jul 2022


Low emissions development strategies (LEDS) are central to the mitigation of current and future greenhouse gas emissions, which if unchecked will accelerate climatic change and further exacerbate existing vulnerabilities, and thereby undermine efforts to adapt to climate change.

Industries are increasingly modifying their production models to more sustainable ones. By making more efficient use of materials and optimizing inputs, in particular energy and water, companies can reduce costs, reduce their emissions and improve their competitiveness. 

Climate resilient industrial development involves continued efforts to mitigate climate change while at the same time preparing industry to adapt to its impacts. Many opportunities to foster climate resilient industrial development and competitiveness are based on ‘green industry.’ This covers both the greening of existing industries to continuously improve their resource productivity, and the creation of green industries that deliver environmental goods and services. The greening of industries is key to economic competitiveness, since resource inputs represent an important production cost, and improving efficiency can create a competitive advantage. 

This publication*, which was produced in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), explores how low emission development is linked to competitiveness and how competitiveness benefits can be integrated into low emission policy and planning. It also presents a short case study on the MED-TEST project in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

*download the full report form the right-hand column. The key messages from the report are provided below - see the full text for more detail and further resources.

Key Messages

  • Low emission industrial development and resource efficiency offer excellent opportunities for increasing competitiveness of economies and companies.

  • There is often a clear business case for switching to lower emission technologies, with payback periods ranging largely from 0.5–5 years, leveraging financial investment.

  • Resource productivity has a huge potential in moving towards circular economies and zero carbon societies.

  • Many green industry policies, tools, and means of implementation exist that can drive low carbon competitiveness as part of NDCs or wider development strategies.

Further resources