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New IIR Informatory Note on The Role of Refrigeration in the Global Economy

In its latest Informatory Note, the IIR highlights the major and growing role of the refrigeration industry in the global economy, particularly in the areas of food, health, energy and the environment. It calls on policy makers to consider this sector as a priority in the fields of industry, education and research.

Using statistics and IIR estimates, the IIR's latest Informatory Note1 published in June 2019 highlights the current importance of the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump sector economically, socially and environmentally. Some figures are enough to illustrate the critical importance of this sector:


  • the total number of refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump systems in operation worldwide is roughly 5 billion;
  • global annual sales of such equipment amount to roughly 500 billion USD;
  • over 15 million people are employed worldwide in the refrigeration sector which consumes about 20% of the overall electricity used worldwide.

The role of the refrigeration industry is expected to increase further in the coming years due to growing refrigeration needs in many areas (air conditioning, food, health, energy) and global warming.


The IIR calls on governments to consider refrigeration as crucial for humanity and to make it a priority in the fields of industry, education and research.


It is necessary to advance training and qualification of staff in the refrigeration sector, but also to incite more young people to turn to promising refrigeration-related careers offering long-term perspectives.


It is especially imperative to spare no effort in helping developing countries reach refrigeration capacities necessary to preserve food safety and human health.


1 38th IIR Informatory Note The Role of Refrigeration in the Global Economy published in June 2019, prepared by Jean-Luc Dupont (Head of the Scientific and Technical Information Department) and reviewed by Piotr Domanski (President of the Science and Technology Council), Philippe Lebrun (President of the General Conference) and Felix Ziegler (President of the Executive Committee)

This Informatory Note is freely available to IIR members. An extract is available for non-members here.