5 December 2020

Trade decisions enhance circularity paper finds

A discussion paper by the UN Environment Programme and International Resource Panel sets out that global exports of material resources per capita doubled between 1970 and 2017—while overall global extraction of materials tripled in the same period—but fewer exporters are meeting this demand.

Cargo port

The paper finds unchecked international trade has a damaging effect on the planet, but appropriate trade measures can enable a less resource-intensive economy.

Read the full paper, Sustainable Trade in Resources: Global Material Flows, Circularity and Trade.

Speaking at the report’s launch, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen spoke of the relationship between trade, the environment, and the economy, noting global trade policies need to protect the environment not only for the sake of our planet but also for the long-term health of our economies.