The ‘greening’ of global trade could provide an alternative avenue to development for countries heavily dependent on natural resource-based products, claims the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) in a new report.
UNEP acknowledges in the report that although the creation of economic growth through trade has gone some way to help countries still struggling with the problems of development, there is still a long way to go to eradicate the poverty that the ‘resource curse’ facilitates.
In the document the UN department stresses that such countries could benefit from the emerging ‘green culture’ among businesses and consumers. This means that through applying social-environmental metrics (which are of increasing importance to big business), these countries can help to eradicate the stresses put on land, oceans, and other natural resources that under the current system arguably lead to a ‘curse’.
“These opportunities are significant and real” according to the report.
It is projected that the global market in low-carbon and energy efficient technologies will triple by 2020, and with that in mind, it is a real possibility that sustainability as an underlying business case could act as a catalyst to spur more sustainable international trade.
With a focus on socio-economics, as opposed to hard core economics as a matter of necessity due to global demands, it will surely follow that local governments in impoverished countries will be under more pressure to ensure the full supply chain is sustainable which also means the quality of life of the workers.
The report broaches the issue of policy, with UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner stating: With the right policies and price regimes in place, developing countries are well-positioned to help drive the global transition to a more sustainable economy.”