Chemical industry plays crucial role in regional economies in every corner of the world

The international chemical industry touches nearly every goods-producing sector worldwide, making an estimated $5.7 trillion contribution to global economic output, or 7% of world GDP, through direct, indirect and induced impacts, and supports 120 million jobs worldwide, according to a new global industry economic impact analysis by Oxford Economics.

The findings, produced with the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), were unveiled to coincide with the Fourth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4).

Key results of the report, The Global Chemical Industry: Catalyzing Growth and Addressing Our World’s Sustainability Challenges, were:

  • Directly, the chemical industry added $1.1 trillion to world GDP and employed 15 million people, making it the fifth-largest global manufacturing sector.
  • For every $1 (USD) generated by the chemical industry, a further $4.20 is generated elsewhere in the global economy.
  • Companies in the chemical industry spent an estimated $3 trillion with their suppliers in 2017, buying goods and services used in the manufacture of their products. This supply chain spending contributed an estimated $2.6 trillion to global GDP, and supported 60 million jobs.
  • The global chemical industry invested an estimated $51 billion in research and development (R&D), supporting 1.7 million jobs and a further $92 billion in economic activity.
  • The largest contributor to GDP and jobs from the sector is the Asia-Pacific chemical industry, generating 45 per cent of the industry’s total annual economic value, and 69 percent of all jobs supported.
  • Europe made the next most important contribution ($1.3 trillion total GDP contribution, 19 million jobs supported) followed by North America ($866 billion total GDP contribution, 6 million jobs supported).

ICCA commissioned Oxford Economics to provide a detailed assessment of the chemical industry’s contributions to the global economy.

The report aims to examine the full extent of the chemical industry’s economic footprint – whereby production of chemical products supports activity not just in the industry itself (direct impact), but in a wide range of other sectors throughout the supply chain (indirect impact supported through procurement of intermediate goods) and wage-financed effects (payroll-induced impact sustained via consumption spending of workers employed by the industry and its suppliers).

To learn more and to download a free copy of this report, visit

To learn more about ICCA’s contributions to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), visit