Green Economy and Trade


The Trade, Policy and Planning Unit at UNEP seeks to identify opportunities at the crossroads of Green Economy and Trade.

If we are to reverse the global decline of biodiversity, mitigate the release of greenhouse gases, halt the degradation of terrestrial ecosystems and protect our oceans, then international trade must become sustainable and responsible. Further, if we are to succeed in eradicating poverty, we will need to ensure that trade benefits the poor.

At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+20”) in June 2012, world leaders reaffirmed the role of international trade as an “engine for development and sustained economic growth”.

While conscious of concerns by many developing countries, the trade-related debate at Rio+20 initiated a shift of focus from the risks of using green economy policies for protectionist purposes, to the opportunities that the transition to a greener economy can present for enhancing economic and social development through sustainable trade.

Developing countries are particularly likely to benefit from scaling up sustainable trade by harnessing new trade opportunities, including for example, the export of certified commodities in the fisheries, forests or agriculture sectors, increased investments in sustainable production and supply chains, or the expansion of eco-tourism.   
UNEP is tackling the challenge of making trade work for a sustainable development by identifying trade opportunities that arise from a transition to greener economies and assisting countries in harnessing their green trade potential.

For further information, please contact Anja von Moltke, Head of Trade, Policy and Planning Unit, at: