World Environment Day 2015: Message from ITC Executive Director Arancha González
The theme of this year’s World Environment Day -- Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care. – underscores our collective responsibility for the well-being of the environment given that our future depends upon the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. But it also reiterates that we as individuals have to make consumer choices that reduce the negative impact of our environmental footprint.
To help us consume with care, we need greater insight into the goods and services we purchase. And producers – especially small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries – may need guidance and assistance to upgrade the resource efficiency with which they make those goods and services, to achieve a more sustainable production.
While the relationship between the two can be complex, trade can contribute to sustainable development in many ways.
Commercial exchange spreads low-carbon technologies from one country to another enabling production processes to become more resource-efficient. Well-designed sustainability standards for traded products reward communities and companies for taking greater care of forests, fisheries and arable land.
At ITC, we embed sustainability throughout our Aid for Trade offer. This ranges from global public goods such as ITC’s Standards Map, which brings greater transparency to the universe of private voluntary sustainability standards; through to capacity building that directly addresses environmental challenges in sectors with export potential in developing countries. An example of the latter is ITC’s work with tea farmers in Kenya to reduce energy and water use, thus saving costs, boosting competitiveness, and easing pressure on the environment.
Today ITC launches two new publications. The first reveals how adaptation strategies and policies for more climate-smart agricultural production and trade can help agricultural exporters in Peru and Uganda. The second, jointly published with the International Organization on Standardization (ISO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is a guide for helping SMEs improve management practices to save energy.
All actors in the global economy must work together to encourage innovations and enhance the incentive framework for sustainable development. ITC will continue to work closely with its partners to address environmental crises and ensure a sustainable future.