Reflections are only that, reflections, nothing more nothing less. Often these reflections are related to books I read, but occasionally also other things. These are often written very late, very fast,  using notes from my mobile phone, so the grammar and spelling is horrible.

Sustainable goods and Services in the 21st century

Below is an extract from the preface from the just published report, "Sustainable goods and Services in the 21st century". In many ways this report summarizes the trade work I did for WWF from 1999 to 2009. It can be downloaded here [0.6 meg].
Amidst the current global economic turmoil and accompanying calls for a new international economic framework, it is important to highlight the fact this report represents one outcome of a body of work that began more than a decade ago, as WWF was preparing to make inputs to the Third Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which took place in Seattle in the USA during November/December 2003.
During these preparations, it became clear that the incremental changes to the international trade regime being discussed in the WTO were inadequate to effectively address global environmental challenges such as climate change, unsustainable economic development and rapid natural resource depletion. New measures were therefore required, both to resolve these issues and to capture the exciting opportunities that were beginning to emerge in the field of environmental goods and services as well as in innovative technologies and solutions that promoted environmental sustainability and decreased resource consumption.

Instead of focusing on the shortcomings of WTO, at that time a relatively newly created body (only four years old), and the short-term agendas promoted by governments and companies in developed economies that dominated discussion within the Organisation at the time, WWF took the decision to invest in the promotion of a far more proactive agenda, with a focus on emerging economies, and on the international trade and investment regimes required to deliver products, services and solutions that promote environmental sustainability.

The WWF Trade and Investment Programme (TIP) was accordingly created, with capacity located in and importantly, coordinated from emerging economies, in order to ensure that WWF was in a position to support the development of new ideas and the creation of new opportunities in those countries that will be amongst the most important of the 21st century.

WWF’s collaboration with key stakeholders in the BRICS countries has intensified over a period of several years, and this paper can be considered as one result of the organisation’s efforts to support a transformative agenda that delivers concrete result from this next generation of economic superpowers. The paper is authored by Sanjay Kumar, a highly knowledgeable and experienced official of the Government of India, and during his tenure in the country’s trade delegation to the WTO, one of the driving forces behind the project-based, demand-driven approach to trade liberalisation in the area of EGS.

At a time when many developed country governments continue to utilise the demand for increased environmental sustainability of products and services as a means to increase export opportunities for their companies, this project-based approach seeks to place the environmental and social requirements of the world as a whole, and of developing nations in particular, above narrow economic self-interest as a driver for liberalisation in this area.

We trust that this report will inspire not only new initiatives in the field of trade and investment that support the innovation and dissemination of sustainable goods and services, but also the consideration of options that promote such initiatives beyond the constraints of the current institutional environment.

Dennis Pamlin, Global Policy Advisor, and
Alistair Schorn, Head, WWF Trade and Investment Programme