As governments are being requested to raise global ambitions to address urgent environmental problems and risks, they are increasingly turning to trade to find sustainability solutions.
Global value chains could be used to create positive linkages between countries that invest in sustainable production and those that are interested in sustainable consumption. In this connection, trade is increasingly recognized as a game changer in ensuring the transition of the global economy towards environmental sustainability and the circular economy.
While the discourse on sustainable supply chains addresses topics such as innovation, environmental standards, competitiveness, investment in digital infrastructure and data exchange, fundamental questions on the definition of environmental goods and the scope of the Green Customs concept need to be tackled to frame the problem and assist all the actors involved in designing supply chains that are sustainable, resilient and secure.
To this end, good governance mechanisms and strengthened cooperation between Customs and other regulatory agencies at the border are essential in supporting environmentally friendly trade policies as well as an effective and equitable transition towards more sustainable and greener supply chains.
Leveraging trade to support the transition of the global economy toward sustainability requires not only a reorganization of business practices towards more corporate social responsibility but also a change in mindset to allow for the adaptation of regulatory approaches and operations.
In the case of Customs, this calls for a specific focus on new business models and reverse logistics, while strengthening the traditional role of Customs in enforcing trade restrictions and prohibitions aimed at protecting scarce natural resources that are essential for maintaining resilient ecosystems.
On other hand, the nexus between trade and the environment also highlights the risks that illicit trade flows pose to the environment, involving specific control and monitoring requirements.
In facilitating and processing international trade, Customs administrations have a critical role to play in controlling the transboundary movement of environmental goods by supporting the effective implementation of various Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). The objectives of these MEAs include addressing the illicit trade in hazardous waste and ozone-depleting substances, combating the illicit trade in endangered species, and preventing the spread of plant and animal diseases, as well as of invasive alien species.
In this context, the exploration of possible approaches for facilitating the legal trade in environmental goods needs to consider not only the regulatory perspective, but also the technical requirements and the specificities of sustainable supply chains, including safety and security risks.
Pragmatic responses are needed to accelerate results, identify the gaps that call for more urgent action, and leverage the international tools that can contribute to shaping sustainable trade outcomes.
To that end, this Conference will draw together a wide range of stakeholders who will share their views and present proposals on strengthening Customs’ role in ensuring more sustainable and greener supply chains and protecting the environment through trade. These proposals will centre around priorities and options for a proactive, inclusive and forward-looking WCO agenda on environmental sustainability and sustainable supply chains that can help drive progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Conference will be held in-person at the WCO Headquarters in Brussels. An online link will also be provided allowing the possibility for some participants who are unable to travel to observe the Conference remotely via an online platform (no active participation will be possible remotely).
The Conference is a multi-stakeholder event bringing together not only Customs administrations but also representatives of other international organizations, academia, the private sector, civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including environmental policy-makers and international experts.
Free of charge, open to all.
English , French and Spanish
Innovation, environmental standards, competiveness, investment in digital infrastructures and data exchanging are some of the conference topics.
WCO headquarters in Brussels
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