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WTO Trade and Environment Committee Discusses Carbon Footprint Labels

World Trade Organization (WTO)20 June 2013: At a recent meeting, the members of the Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) exchanged information on and discussed experiences in product carbon footprint and labeling schemes.

At the meeting, which was held on 5 June 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Standardization Organization (ISO) provided an update on the ISO 14067 process on technical specifications for measuring and communicating the carbon footprint of products. Thereafter, representatives from the European Commission (EC), the British Standards Institution, Chinese Taipei, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Nigeria and Switzerland shared information on their respective initiatives to measure and label products based on their carbon footprint. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) complemented the discussion with a review of the economic literature on the impact of product carbon footprint labels on international trade. In addition, Australia provided an update on its Carbon Pricing Mechanism.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) briefed CTE members on its work in the area of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Furthermore, representatives of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, as well as of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), briefed the Committee on recent activities. [IISD RS Sources]