Discussions on trade and circular economy transition continued in 2021

The Permanent Mission of Finland to Geneva hosted a six-part webinar series focusing on circular economy and trade during 2021. The webinar series served as a continuation of past activities on circular economy transition, sustainable recovery during and after COVID19 pandemic and ways trade policy can support and enable simultaneously both the transition and the efforts to rebuild economies in a more sustainable way.

The Permanent Mission of Finland to Geneva hosted a six-part webinar series focusing on circular economy and trade during 2021. The webinar series served as a continuation of past activities on circular economy transition, sustainable recovery during and after COVID19 pandemic and ways trade policy can support and enable simultaneously both the transition and the efforts to rebuild economies in a more sustainable way.

The sixth and final episode was hosted in collaboration with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the International Institute for Sustainable Development on December 10th 2021. After the postponement of the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), the event focused on taking stock of the past year and discussions on trade, circular economy and environmental sustainability instead of the outcomes and next steps after the MC12.

During the event, Mr. Hoe Lim, Director of the Trade and Environent Division of the WTO, provided an overview of the work done at the WTO and the various initiatives related to on trade and environmental sustainability, noting circular economy as a topic of interest to a wide range of WTO members. Ms. Karoliina Rasi, Specialist at the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), spoke about the role of trade and the WTO in advancing and enabling circular economy transition from the business perspective, highlighting e.g. the need for internal EU markets for recycled raw materials and tackle the bottlenecks of scaling up the circular economy transition.

Mr. Christophe Bellmann, Head of Policy Analysis and Strategy at the Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS) presented a recent study(layout.types.url.description) commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce. The report discusses the role of trade and the WTO in advancing circular economy, building on the experiences of companies. Mr. Bellmann highlighted for instance the labelling schemes and the importance of negotiations on environmental goods and services, recalling also the previous WTO discussions on remanufactured products. Ms. Bezawit Eshetu, Country Representative and Executive Team Member of African Circular Economy Network, focused on circular economy in Africa and the role of trade and other factors, such as regional trade, in advancing the transition.

The webinar series consisted of the following episodes: