Economic interconnectivity – including through international trade — is a mainstay of modern life, delivering life-changing and -saving goods and services across the globe.
But when it comes to the natural world, our trading systems have a lot to answer for. Roughly 29 to 39 percent of global anthropogenic emissions derive from international trade, mainly in beef and oilseeds.
In world tropical countries, deforestation for agriculture and tree plantations releases a total of 2.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide a year. Those countries then bear the brunt of biodiversity and ecosystem service loss, while resources produced are mostly sold elsewhere. More vulnerable local communities are disproportionately affected by the loss of ecosystem services.