Environment and Trade Hub

The Environment and Trade Hub enables countries to use trade and investment as vehicles for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

The 2030 Agenda recognizes international trade and investment as a vital means of implementation for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Additionally, the Paris Agreement calls for action to tackle climate change, which requires the accelerated diffusion of clean technologies. Yet, many countries lack the capacity to use trade and investment as vehicles for achieving sustainable development.

Launched in 2015, the Environment and Trade Hub serves as the overarching delivery mechanism for United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) work on trade. Through research, capacity building and policy advisory services, the Hub provides tailored support to countries seeking to leverage trade and investment as vehicles for achieving the SDGs and their Paris Agreement commitments.

In promoting mutually supportive trade and environment policies, the Hub delivers its work across four key areas:

Trade in Environmentally Sound Technologies
Governance at Trade & Environment Nexus
Green Markets & Global Value Chains
Reducing the Footprint of Trade and Greening the Brown

Environment and Trade Hub Focus Areas

The Hub’s objectives are to:

  • Enhance the capacity of countries to design and implement trade policies that foster environmental sustainability and human well-being;

  • Assist countries in the realization of trade opportunities arising from a transition to greener economies;

  • Strengthen the sustainability aspects of cross-border trade and investment agreements in bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral negotiations;

  • Realize a shift of trade practices and trends to more sustainable patterns.

Why Does Trade Matter?

Trade plays an essential role in sustainable development and tackling climate change.

While trade can contribute to environmental challenges, it can be a principal driver of the transition to an inclusive green economy, help countries build economic and environmental resilience, foster climate action and promote the shift to more sustainable production and consumption.

In practical terms, trade offers opportunities for greening global supply chains, diffusing green technology and innovation, and re-allocating unevenly distributed natural resources in an efficient way across the globe. In the same vain, the shift to more sustainable patterns of production and consumption is expanding the market for environmental goods, services, and technologies, thus creating new trade opportunities.


Why trade can save the planet, if we do it better

by Erik Solheim

In the Indian tech hub of Hyderabad, I recently visited an ultra-modern campus that is home to some of the country’s youngest and brightest minds who crank out code as part of the software…

Load all stories

The Environment and Trade Hub’s work is closely coordinated with international and regional initiatives, including the Partnership Action on Green Economy (PAGE), the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS), the Inter-agency Plan of Action on sustainable oceans and trade, and the Friends Advancing Sustainable Trade Group.

UNEP is an official observer of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) and regularly engages WTO members to identify trade and Green Economy inter linkages and to bolster policy support. Access UNEP and the WTO’s latest joint publication on ‘Making Trade Work for the Environment, Prosperity and Resilience’ here.