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When the COVID-19 crisis hit, bringing economies and industries to a standstill, there were just 10 years justify to meet the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With production stopped or slowed for
many companies and demand reduced for certain products, industry remains one of the sectors most affected. As the economic engine slowly restarts, companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),are looking into ways to recover and cut costs as they try to stay afloat. There is a risk that this could lead to more job losses and
a peak in energy consumption and related emissions if sustainability goals are sacrificed in the name of cost savings.
Rather, now is an opportune time to invest in energy efficiency as the cheapest and most effective way to rapidly generate new jobs, reduce energy bills, and curb emissions.

their energy bills by up to 15% with simple low- and no-cost measures. This is in addition to the operational efficiency gains made with the implementation of energy management systems and by improving the quality of data on project performance. These efforts also increase the bankability of projects: The energy savings resulting from innovative efficiency measures will free capital for SMEs to reinvigorate their cash flows during economic recovery.UNIDO has worked with more than 3,500 enterprises in 20 countries over the past 10 years and has contributed to energy cost savings of more than USD $400 million. There is enormous potential to expand upon these savings if energy efficiency is more widely adopted across more industries and countries.

Energy Efficiency is Critical for SME Survival During the Build Back Better Phase

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) provides industrial energy efficiency programs around the world. Many business participants have reduced Even so, SMEs often don’t have the technical capacity to identify and implement the most beneficial projects nor the financial capacity to fund more costly measures. This is why in 2020, UNIDO re-directed its efforts, drawing on its experience to produce a series of knowledge kits about industrial energy efficiency designed to equip industry practitioners to take the first steps toward improving efficiency. We have just launched the first of five energy efficiency solutions toolkits on Energy Management Systems, including practical answers to common questions and a growing list of UNIDO experts with a wealth of experience in working with industry. By the end of 2020, the Efficiency Solutions series will include toolkits on motor-driven systems, industrial heat, industrial cooling, and energy metrics and performance indicators. The effect of the pandemic doubles the urgency for action if we are to achieve the sustainable development goals and drive a sustainable and resilient recovery. Given industry’s huge consumption of global energy resources, our challenge now is to scale-up and expand what we started 10 years ago. Working together and making practical knowledge accessible is a powerful way to help now. Help us share this knowledge today. 

Rana Ghoneim,
Chief, Energy Systems and Infrastructure Division, United Nations
Industrial Development Organization

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