Green industrial policies are strategic government actions that attempt to accelerate the growth and development of renewable energies and sustainable products. The goal of this effort is to further the transition toward a low carbon economy. Government interventions are often necessary because the firms in this industry face higher costs and unique risks within a free market structure, reducing their immediate commercial viability.
The green industry often uses subsidies as a way to fuel growth and innovation. Although only $39 billion in subsidies was available in 2007, that figure could reach $250 billion by 2035. The International Energy Agency and the World Trade Organization both recognize the value of these investments, but it may not be a sustainable approach.
Governments encourage the green industry from the consumer perspective to encourage the transition away from fossil fuels. Plug-in hybrids and electric cars in Belgium don’t pay a registration fee, while corporations with zero-emissions vehicles get a deductibility rate of 120%.
Interesting Green Industry Statistics
#1. For every percentage point increase in the green intensity of an industry, which is a reflection of the share of employment in green jobs, the annual employment rates are 0.03% higher. (Brookings)
#2. States that have higher levels of green intensity typically fare better during economic downturns than those that don’t make the green industry a top priority. (Brookings)
#3. Although manufacturing represents over 10% of total private employment, it also accounts for one-fifth of the current green employment opportunities that exist. (Brookings)
#4. About 50% of the employment opportunities found in the water industry are considered green jobs. (Brookings)
#5. Workers don’t need to have a college education to get involved with the green industry. For every 1% increase in green intensity, there is a 0.28% increase in the share of jobs within a specific industry held by employees without a four-year degree. (Brookings)
#6. Renewable energies make up 11.5 quadrillion BTUs of consumption in the United States, which was only 11% of the total energy use in 2018. Biomass and hydropower represent 67.8% of the sustainable resources that we consume. (University of Michigan)
#7. Renewable energy represented 18% of the energy consumed in the European Union in 2018, while the share of energy used in transport activities reached 8% for the first time. (Eurostat)
#8. Sweden is the only country in Europe that generates over 50% of its energy from renewable sources. Latvia and Finland are the only other two countries that exceed the 40% threshold. (Eurostat)
#9. The consumption of renewable energy in Europe more than doubled between 2004 to 2018. (Eurostat)
#10. Only 7% of the world’s low-income households have access to clean technologies and fuels for cooking. (World Bank)
#11. The world produced about 5.9 terawatts of renewable energy in 2016, representing up to a six-fold increase in what was available in the 1960s. Hydropower is the dominant form of this energy globally, representing about 70% of what we consume. (Our World in Data)
#12. Wind and solar energy received 47% of the investment, combining to account for 94% of global financing for green industry technologies. That’s a significant change from 2006 when bioenergy received 36% of the available investment funds. (Our World in Data)
#13. Renewable energy sources accounted for about 17% of the electricity generation in the United States in 2018. (Energy Information Administration)
#14. The United States produced 293 billion kilowatts of hydropower, 273 billion kilowatts of wind power, and 64 billion kilowatts of solar in 2018. (Energy Information Administration)
#15. Although hydropower production was down 6% from the 50-year average in 2018, the figures from wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy production were at their highest-ever recorded levels. (Energy Information Administration)
#16. Residential, commercial, and industrial sectors produce about 4% of the electricity that Americans use each year. (Energy Information Administration)
#17. Employment in the solar photovoltaic sector grew by almost 11% and in the thermal sector by over 18% between 2003 to 3010. (Economic Policy Institute)
#18. The United States currently offers 3.1 million green jobs, with 73% of them located in the private sector. The state and federal governments are responsible for 12% of the overall total, while, local government provides another 476,00 jobs. (Economic Policy Institute)
#19. Outside of the 461,000 jobs provided by the manufacturing sector, the green industry receives 372,000 positions from construction, 349,00 in professional services, and 319,000 in administrative services. (Economic Policy Institute)
#20. The green intensity of private economy jobs in the United States is strongest in utilities at 11.9%. Construction follows in second at 6.8%. Then it is transportation and warehousing (6.2%), professional services (4.7%), and administrative services (4.3%). (Economic Policy Institute)
#21. The size of the green building market in the United States is $81 billion. The number of LEED-certified projects started in the country rose from 296 in 2006 to over 67,000 in 2018. (Statista)
#22. The U.S. educational green contracting market revenues for 2018 reached over $759 million, with this segment of the economy holding a 17% share of the design market. (Statista)
#23. Over 96,000 LEED-certified projects are currently under development in almost 170 countries and territories. (Statista)
#24. 71% of the green remodels that get requested in the United States involve a desire to lower energy use. (Statista)
#25. 65% of construction professionals say that lower operating costs are one of the essential benefits that the green industry provides, while 57% note that the sense of community that this approach takes is a top priority. (Statista)
#26. 35% say that a desire to reduce water consumption is one of the best environmental reasons to develop green buildings. (Statista)
#27. 44% of construction professionals and contractors say that client demands are what drive the green industry today. (Statista)
#28. Vermont is the state with the highest green intensity of private-sector jobs, with a figure that reaches 3.9%. Only three other states reach 3% in their totals: Pennsylvania, Washington, and Colorado. (Economic Policy Institute)
#29. The states with the least amount of green industry activities are Nevada at 1.3%, Florida at 1.4%, and Oklahoma at 1.4%. Arizona and West Virginia also make the list at 1.5%. That means the top four states have more than twice the green intensity when compared to the bottom five states. (Economic Policy Institute)
#30. Maine, South Carolina, Connecticut, and Massachusetts have green classifications in utility jobs that reach as high as 50%. (Economic Policy Institute)
#31. 8% of the manufacturing jobs in Vermont receive classification in the green industry, which is double the national rate in the United States. (Economic Policy Institute)
#32. 71% of the global population, a total of 5.3 billion people, used a safely managed drinking water service in 2017. That means it was located on their premises, was available when needed, and free from contamination. (World Health Organization)
#33. 90% of the global population has access to a basic drinking water service that offers an improved resource within a 15-minute one-way trip from their home. (World Health Organization)
#34. Contaminated water can transmit numerous diseases that contribute to about 500,000 deaths each year. Since about half of the world’s population is expected to live in a water-stressed area by 2025, the green industry has numerous opportunities for growth. (World Health Organization)
#35. 22% of the health care facilities in the least developed countries have no water service. 21% of them have no sanitation service either, and a similar amount don’t have waste management services. (World Health Organization)
#36. About 7% of the irrigated land in developing countries uses wastewater for irrigation. Although this practice can pose health risks if done incorrectly, the green industry can safely manage the approach to improve food production rates. (World Health Organization)
#37. The green industry provides the strongest case for wage growth in the United States. National income levels from 1979 to 2008 rose by an average of $10,400 per person, but all of those gains went to the top 10%. The lower 90% of earners saw wages fall. (Economic Policy Institute)
#38. Iron and steel mills have the most significant levels of green intensity in the United States, with over 50% of the available positions qualifying for this status. Railroad rolling stock manufacturing is a close second at 48.8%. Additional high-level contributors include household appliance manufacturing (34.3%), HVAC manufacturing (32.4%), and paper, pulp, and paperboard mills (27.3%). (Economic Policy Institute)
#39. The green economy in 2016 generated over $1.3 trillion in revenues in the United States. The revenue generated globally by this industry could be as much as $7.87 trillion. (Salon)
#40. The United States makes up 16.5% of the green industry, making it the largest segment of the market globally. (Salon)
#41. About 10 times more people receive employment in the green industry and its supply chains than those who have jobs in the fossil fuel industry despite about $650 billion in annual subsidies going toward non-renewable fuels. (Salon)
#42. Between 2013-2016, the green industry in the United States added 1.5 million full-time jobs while coal mining positions declined by over 37,000 positions. (Salon)
#43. About 102 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are using surface water to meet their current needs, which is the most dangerous option that’s available. Exposure to unsafe water, poor hygiene, and inadequate sanitation is a leading cause of cholera and a variety of dangerous infections. (The Water Project)
#44. Girls often drop out of school at puberty because over 50% of the developing world’s primary schools don’t have access to sanitation facilities or water. (The Water Project)
#45. Almost 20% of the deaths of children under the age of 5 around the world is due to a water-related disease. (The Water Project)
#46. Investing in clean water through the green economy can give young children around the world over 413 million days of health. Sub-Saharan Africa loses about 40 billion hours per year of productivity because of the need to collect water. (The Water Project)
#47. When a woman’s literacy increases by 10%, the whole economy of a country can grow by as much as 0.3%. (The Water Project)
Green Industry Trends and Analysis
LEED certification is one of the most popular green building certification programs available in the world today. It was developed by the Green Building Council to provide owners and operators a framework to identify and implement measurable and practical green industry solutions. It focuses on design, construction, operations, and maintenance needs to create a positive environmental image.
LEED focuses on sustainable sites, water efficiency, materials, indoor environmental quality, and energy use. Workers that are in these environments full-time have improvements in productivity, better job retention rates, and they take fewer sick days.
The goal of the green industry is to get people away from the use of fossil fuels. Cities like Atlanta are seeing impressive growth in the share of buildings that receive Energy Star certification. Continued adoption of green building principles will create numerous opportunities for the industry to achieve annualized growth rates of 7% or more over the next 10-year forecast period.
It must be noted that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has not tracked green economy information since 2013 due to stated budget cuts.
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