Green markets and global value chains

Enhance the design and uptake of sustainability standards and facilitate market access for sustainably produced and certified products in order to green global production and consumption.

Enhancing capacities for trade in sustainable textiles and global value chains in Jiangsu, China

As part of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) country work in China, the Environment and Trade Hub, in partnership with the Research Institute of Global Value Chains and the International Trade Center, initiated a project to improve capacity of textile companies in Jiangsu Province to better understand sustainable trade and value chain development opportunities in textile sector. It aims to assist Jiangsu’s efforts in the transition towards an Inclusive Green Economy and achieve its goals of industrial upgrading and green development as outlined in the provincial 13th Five Year Plan.

Project activities:

  1. A baseline assessment of current textile trade and value chain development in Jiangsu, with focus on opportunities and challenges for sustainable trade.
  2. A targeted training workshop on Sustainable Trade and Global Value Chains for Textile Products, to share knowledge and good practices on sustainable management of textile supply chains, sustainability standards, clean production, and corporate social responsibility. Download the report of the workshop here.
  3. An Action Plan for improving sustainability of textile trade in Jiangsu, to outline the steps recommended to local policy makers, textile companies and business associations, to further scale up sustainable textile trade and harness opportunities from sustainable value chains. 

Green Economy and Trade Opportunities Project (GE-TOP)

The Green Economy and Trade Opportunities Project has been divided into two phases. The first phase consisted of the development of the report Green Economy and Trade – Trends, Challenges and Opportunities, which focused on a global assessment of interlinkages between international trade and green economy. In this study, GE-TOP developed a global framework that demonstrated the mutually beneficial relationship between trade and green economy.

On the basis of the conceptual framework of this initial report and in cooperation with national partner institutes, the second phase of the GE-TOP project consisted of five national-level projects that identified and assessed concrete trade opportunities associated with the transition to a green economy at the national and sectoral levels. Through these country projects, GE-TOP assisted sustainable development in various sector and country contexts, including an assessment of export opportunities resulting from a national standard for the Chilean agriculture sector; a scoping study and a strategy proposal on solar energy export potential in Ghana; a project study and a support document for the implementation of the National Biotrade Strategy in Peru; an assessment of export opportunities resulting from a shift to organic farming in the agricultural and agro-processing sector of South Africa; and a study and action plan on export opportunities for sustainably certified aquaculture in Vietnam. The findings of all the country projects were compiled in the Green Economy and Trade Opportunities: Country Projects Synthesis Report. 

GE-TOP Peru: Biotrade

This project aims to analyze the opportunities and challenges for improving biotrade value chains to augment the sustainability of production and enhance access to international markets. The first phase of the project began in 2013, resulting in the study “Peru’s Sustainable Trade Potential: Biodiversity-based Products”. The study includes an economic and legal analysis of opportunities and challenges for sustainability certification and enhanced market access for Peruvian biotrade products. In the second phase, initiated in 2014, UN Environment and partners have been working to produce a support document for the implementation of the National Biotrade Strategy and its Action Plan, in order to harness the sector’s vast potential to contribute to Peru’s green economy transition. The study analyzed 13 native biodiversity-derived products and analyzed their social, economic, and environmental profiles, highlighting the potential that these products have to contribute in a transition towards a green economy.

GE-TOP Chile: Sustainability Standard

This project aims to assess how a national eco-labelling programme in the food and wine sector could create sustainable trade opportunities for Chile. The study, “A Sustainability Standard for the Chilean Agriculture Sector”, includes an assessment of the Green Economy profile of the country, identifies challenges for eco-labelled products to access international markets, assesses the social, economic and environmental impacts of national food and wine production, and develops recommendations on the preferable characteristics of a national eco-labelling program. This project is in partnership with Fundación Chile.

GE-TOP South Africa: Organic Agriculture

This project aims to assess sustainable trade opportunities arising from a shift to organic farming in the agricultural and agro-processing sector in South Africa. The study includes an assessment of the challenges and opportunities of sustainability standards and certification as a means to access international markets in the agricultural sector (particularly focusing on the EU-EFTA region), and an evaluation of costs and benefits related to sustainability certification for organic agriculture. Moreover, the study analyses the contribution of organic production as a driver for economic growth, meaningful employment creation, and environmentally friendly production practices. The project study has revived national discussions on organic agriculture in South Africa, and has shed light on the under-supply in organic produce experienced in many EU-EFTA markets. This project is conducted in cooperation with the Trade Law Centre NPC (tralac).

GE-TOP Viet Nam: Sustainably Certified Aquaculture

This project aims to analyze the export potential for sustainably certified aquaculture products and related challenges in Viet Nam. Sustainably certified products are expected to open up new export markets with higher value addition through price premiums. The first phase of the project began in 2013, resulting in the study entitled “Sustainability Standards in the Vietnamese Aquaculture Sector” which identified the social, economic and environmental benefits of sustainability certification for both processors and farmers. In the second phase of the project, initiated in 2014, UN Environment has been working with partners on an Action Plan to use trade in sustainably certified aquaculture as an engine for the national green growth agenda.

The development of the first phase of the study took place with the active involvement of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), in consultation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). The second phase of the project facilitated the development of an Action Plan to Promote Responsible Aquaculture Standards in Vietnam is in partnership with the IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative and the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD). This Action Plan builds on the recommendations of the “Sustainability Standards in the Vietnamese Aquaculture Sector” study and a series of subsequent consultations with relevant stakeholders and government ministries, and lays out 5 objectives, each including a series of actions, organizations involved and a suggested timeframe.

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