The Green Trade Network

In early 2022, IEEP created the Green Trade Network, a group of experts from over 20 European research organisations, ranging from think tanks to NGOs and academia, conducting evidence-based research and outreach activities on the trade and environment nexus. On this page you will find information on the network's activities as well as the editorial from its latest newsletter. Don't hesitate to subscribe!

GTN member organisations are based in 9 EU Member States, but also in the United States of America, United Kingdom and Switzerland. The aim of the GTN is to collectively promote a European agenda for a better alignment of trade policies and trade-impacting measures with key environmental and climate objectives.


July 2022 newsletter editorial

Adjusting Ambitions: MC12 outcomes, new EU TSD Action Plan, CBAM vs Climate Club

Welcome to the Summer edition of the Green Trade Network newsletter! Before wishing you a restful summer break, let’s wrap up the year by coming back on some of the most significant milestones of the past weeks. June 2022 was quite the month for Green-Trade-heads!

Sleepless nights in Geneva - It all started with the much-anticipated 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO. After a 2-day extension and multiple overnight working sessions, Members managed to reach an agreement on eliminating harmful fisheries subsidies. A critical text, as for the first time, the WTO is contributing directly to the achievement of an SDG! In this thread, our IISD colleague Alice Tipping tells you everything you need to know about the agreement on fisheries subsidies.  

CBAM: finally, trilogue-ready! After the chaos of the Plenary session on 8 June, which led to the rejection of the text on the ETS revision as amended by the conservatives, the European Parliament finally found a compromise and voted on the revision of the ETS but also the CBAM and the Social Climate Fund. On CBAM, a middle ground was found between Peter Liese’s (EPP) proposed amendment for a slower phase-out of free allowances (end of 2034) and the initial ambitions of Mohammed Chahim (2028 in his Draft Report – 2030 in the ENVI Committee’s compromise text). The final EP proposal calls for gradual implementation between 2027 and the end of 2032. At the end of the month, the very last Council on Environment under the French Presidency also landed on a common position of the 27 on most of the Fit-for-55 texts, including the revision of the ETS, driving the process of implementing a European CBAM.  

Forget about a Climate Alliance, it’s a “Club”! During the last week of June, G7 members made official their intention to follow Chancellor Scholtz’s initiative and create a climate club “by the end of 2022”. Yes, this literally means tomorrow.  The club would rely on three pillars: (1) advancing ambitious and transparent climate mitigation policies, (2) jointly transforming industries to accelerate decarbonisation and (3) boosting international ambition through partnerships and cooperation and unlock the socio-economic benefits of climate cooperation in order to promote a just energy transition. Big ambitions, but little detail on what the club’s membership will entail (i.e. will members be exempted from each other’s border carbon adjustments?), continuing to raise questions on both WTO compatibility and international acceptability of such a system. “It has to define its specific goals & level of ambition & how to boost industrial decarbonisation. EU countries need clarification on the relationship to #CBAM. = lots of open questions” Camilla Bausch, Scientific and Executive Director of the Ecologic Institute reacted on Twitter.    

Next-Gen TSD Chapters? The European Commission’s communication on the new Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) Action Plan addresses the weaknesses of current TSD Chapters. It consists of 20 action points to ensure new TSD Chapters incorporate provisions targeting country-specific challenges and implementation priorities, implementation roadmaps with defined milestones and timelines, as well as a more actionable and outcome-oriented enforcement mechanism. Also present in the action plan is the monitoring of TSD Chapter implementation, which will be the key to delivering desired outcomes, mainly through empowering civil society’s role in the monitoring of FTAs. However, the TSD Action Plan still lacks a degree of amenability, particularly in that these sustainability provisions cannot be upgraded in the future to account for the evolving nature of trade and environmental issues, as well as the fact that this new approach to TSD Chapters will not be retroactively applied onto existing agreements. Read IEEP’s full assessment of the new TSD Action Plan here



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Previous Newsletters

Thursday, 2 June 2022
"Trade-Tangos": Friend-shoring and the implications of building an assertive EU trade agenda 

Wednesday, 23 March 2022
Thinking Sustainable Trade policies in troubled times 

Latest publications by the Green Trade Network

Monday, 7 March 2022
Summary for decision-makers: Four guiding principles for CBAM design and implementation

The French Presidency of the Council announced that reaching an agreement on CBAM will be one of its top priorities. As discussions have intensified both in the European Parliament and between Member States, the Green Trade Network issues this Summary for EU decision-makers highlighting four mutually reinforcing essential principles to be respected to deliver on a robust, effective and ambitious CBAM.