The 7 Biggest Polluters by Industry in 2022 Ranked by The Eco Experts

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As the world continues towards irreversible climate change and the direct causation of cancer from air pollution is uncovered, it’s clear that more must be done by global industries to lower their pollution output.

To highlight the largest global greenhouse gas emission (GHG) sources, The Eco Experts have researched and relaunched their rankings of the 7 Biggest Polluters by Industry for 2022.

Here are the Top 7 Polluters by Industry and their GHG emissions per year:

  1. Energy (Electricity and Heating): 15.83 billion tonnes
  2. Transport: 8.43 billion tonnes
  3. Manufacturing and construction: 6.3 billion tonnes
  4. Agriculture: 5.79 billion tonnes
  5. Food retail: 3.1 billion tonnes
  6. Fashion: 2.1 billion tonnes
  7. Technology: 1.02 billion tonnes

The Energy, Transport, and Manufacturing/Construction Industries make up the top 3 positions, respectively, and have a combined GHG output of 30.56 billion tonnes of GHG yearly.

Despite the advancements and usage of renewable energy technology, fossil fuels are still the dominant source of energy and fuel. Energy is still by far the industry that produces the most pollution, at a rate of more than 15 billion tonnes due to its dependency on coal, oil, and gas.

Although electric vehicles were purchased in record numbers the last year, petrol vehicles are still the prominent transportation method, accounting for 74.5% of the Transport Industries’ CO2 emissions.

Shockingly, Manufacturing and Construction are responsible for 50% of all-natural resource extraction worldwide. It’s consumption accounts for one-sixth of global freshwater, one-quarter of wood, and one-quarter of global waste. The industry’s practices need to be more sustainable, especially with regard to material sourcing and wastage.

The workings of the food industry – comprising Agriculture and Food Retail – means that they follow in the rankings (4th and 5th) with a combined total of 8.89 billion tonnes.

The retail industry – Food Retail, Fashion, and Technology – makeup positions 5, 6, and 7, respectively, with a combined amount of 6.22 billion tonnes.

The Eco Experts writer and researcher Beth Howell had this to say on the rankings: 

“Looking back over the past few years can feel a bit overwhelming. Countries around the world have declared a climate emergency, plastic pollution is at an all-time high, we’ve seen the hottest years on record, and more animals have reached extinction. Ultimately, we’ve seen the impact of our consumerism skyrocket to new levels – which is reflected by this year’s industry rankings.

Although this paints quite a bleak picture, it’s not all bad. The past decade has also seen much of the world wake up to climate change – with some governments making active efforts to lower their emissions. We’ve seen an ever-growing use of renewable energy, climate strikes beyond belief, and the lowest use of coal in some countries since records began.

If a handful of industries adopt more sustainable practices, global emissions will decrease and we might be able to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Please see The Eco Experts report here with more key insights: https://www.theecoexperts.co.uk/blog/top-7-most-polluting-industries – it also includes a ‘What Can You Do To Help?’ section for each entry offering practical advice to lower consumer dependence on these industries.

The Methodology:

There are five main types of pollution troubling our planet: air, water, soil, light, and noise. Out of these, air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution pose the biggest threat.

In 2021, air pollution contributed: to 8.7 million deaths globally When it comes to water pollution, 14 billion pounds of plastics are dumped into the ocean each year, with polluted bodies of water contributing to 1.5 million children’s deaths. As for soil pollution? About 400 million tonnes of hazardous waste are generated globally every year, which seep into our soil.

That’s why this report focuses on how industries are contributing to these three types of pollution. We’ve also decided to order the industries based on how much they contribute to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Eco Experts is a leading authority that helps people all over the UK to go green in the most energy and cost-efficient ways.

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