Panel shines spotlight on role of e-commerce in green economic recovery

During the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade and Environment Week from 16-20 November 2020, a panel was held to tackle the impact of increased digital trade on the climate change, the role e-commerce can play in promoting a green economic recovery from COVID-19 while addressing climate change, and the contribution that the WTO can make to support such a recovery. The discussion underlined the direct and indirect effects of digital technologies on climate change since direct energy use and emissions from digital technologies have been flat over the past decade. To this aim, private sector companies posited possible ways for retailers to reduce emissions and for customers to monitor the carbon footprint of their purchases. Yet, some concerns were put forward vis-à-vis trade policy decisions that developing countries encounter in terms of importing or domestically producing goods, services, and technologies for renewable energy. This is because carbon labeling may pose challenges to developing countries which might necessitate coherence and inclusiveness in the development of voluntary sustainability standards.