The International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR), France, released a study that outlines the role refrigeration plays on the global economy.

“Over 15 million people are employed worldwide in the refrigeration sector, which consumes about 20% of the overall electricity used worldwide,” the note says.

The IIR estimates that the total number of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump systems in operation worldwide is roughly 5 billion, with global annual sales of such equipment amounting to roughly $500 billion.

Statistical data highlights the importance of the refrigeration sector, which is expected to grow further in the coming years thanks to global warming and increasing cooling needs in numerous fields.

The study also aims to raise policy makers’ awareness on the growing importance of refrigeration to further encourage its development in a sustainable manner, particularly in the least developed countries.

“Refrigeration is of paramount importance for mankind, and must become a priority for policy makers,” the study says.

The note was 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, Washington, D.C.; Philippe Lebrun, president of the general conference; and Felix Ziegler, president of the executive committee.