Green trade opportunities are potentially very large

The Trade, Policy and Planning Unit of the United Nations Environment Programme has just published a report entitled Green Economy and Trade Trends, Challenges and Opportunities. The report identifies international green products and services opportunities in six sectors: agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, forests, manufacturing, renewable energy, and tourism.

Among the findings:

  • The incorporation of sustainable practices in production and trade can positively impact different elements of the supply chain and consequently make exports more competitive in international markets.
  • The global market for organic food and beverages is projected to double between 2011 and 2015, growing to US$105 billion by 2015.
  • Wild-capture fisheries already certified or in full assessment account for annual catches of around 18 million tonnes of seafood, about 17 per cent of the annual global harvest of wild capture fisheries, and demand far outstrips supply. The total value of seafood that has been farmed according to certified sustainability standards is forecast to increase to US$1.25 billion by 2015, up from US$300 million in 2008.
  • As of early 2013, the total area of certified forest worldwide stands at close to 400 million hectares, amounting to approximately 10 per cent of global forest resources. Sales of certified wood products are worth over US$20 billion per annum.
  • Many manufacturers are greening their practices in order to secure their positions within international supply chains. This is illustrated, for example, by the 1,500 per cent increase in global ISO 14001 environmental management certifications between 1999 and 2009.

  • Since 1990, annual global growth in solar photovoltaic, wind and biofuel supply capacity has averaged 42, 25 and 15 per cent respectively. In 2010, the investments in renewable energy supply reached US$211 billion, a five-fold increase from 2004, and more than half of these investments were in developing countries.
  • In developing countries, tourism’s market share has increased from 30 per cent in 1980 to 47 per cent in 2011, and is expected to reach 57 per cent by 2030. In 2012, for the first time, international tourism arrivals reached one billion per year. The fastest growing sub-sector in sustainable tourism is ecotourism, which focuses on nature-based activities.

The 298 page report is available at

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