Trade & Supply Chains

You are here

Trade is an important driver of economic growth. In 2014, world merchandise exports amounted to over US$ 19 trillion (WTO, 2015). However, increasing volumes of trade without appropriate policy support can have adverse consequences, such as pollution and emissions from transport, pressure on natural resources extraction for production and processing, and social marginalisation through rising income inequality or joblessness.

Nevertheless, trade, when accompanied by appropriate regulation, can facilitate green growth by creating new export markets for environmental goods and services, by increasing trade in products certified for sustainability and promoting certification-related services, and by greening international supply chains. The adoption of more resource- and energy-efficient production methods as part of green economy measures has an important role to play in helping both nations and firms secure access to, and long-term competitiveness in, international markets.

Relevance to the SDGs

Trade affects the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in all sectors. For example, reducing world agricultural market distortion is directly linked to SDG 2 on achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture and target 15.7 aims to reduce trade in poached or illegally trafficked wildlife. SDG 8, specifically target 8.A calls for an increase in Aid for Trade to developing countries. And SDG 17 recognized trade as a way to strengthen the means of implementation for sustainable development.
 

SDG 2.B
   Agricultural Trade   
   SDG 15.7
        Wildlife Trade        
   SDG 17
Means of Implementation

Learning Products

Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
World Bank, Korea Green Growth Partnership (KGGP)
CAFTA-DR Environmental Cooperation

Insights

The US government argues that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), concluded last October with 11 other Pacific Rim countries, “includes the most robust enforceable environment commitments of any trade agreement in history.” But is this really the case?

New research produced through the GGKP's Trade and Competitiveness Research Committee explores how addressing data and research gaps in the measurement of environmental policy stringency in developing countries could better identify green growth potentials.
Marouissa Kelp of the OECD presents new research showing that well-designed green policies not only secure long-term wellbeing, but can uphold current productivity levels too.