Trade for Development Centre is a programme of Enabel, the Belgian development agency.

What is sustainable trade?

Sustainable trade occurs when the commercial exchanges of goods and services generate social, economic and environmental benefits in accordance with the fundamental principles of sustainable development:

  • Creation of economic value;
  • Reduction of poverty and inequality;
  • Preservation and reuse of environmental resources.

The promoters of these practices want to put the emphasis not only on decent working conditions, but also on the fact that this trade is carried out with a genuine consideration for environmental resources and a concern for the preservation and reuse of raw materials.

Fair trade is a specific model of sustainable trade.

Ecological awareness

Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, consumers have become increasingly sensitive to ecological issues and the living conditions of the poorest populations. In response to this gradual growth of awareness, as an extension to fair trade initiatives, the term “sustainable trade” began to appear a few years ago.

The principles of sustainable trade are all the more essential when developing countries are the first victims of global warming and damage to the environment, which result in drought and floods to the detriment of the small farmers making up the bulk of the population in these countries.

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