Research Handbook on Climate Change and Trade Law
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Research Handbook on Climate Change and Trade Law

Edited by Panagiotis Delimatsis

The interaction between climate change and trade has grown in prominence in recent years. This Research Handbook contains authoritative original contributions from leading experts working at the interface between trade and climate change. It maps the state of affairs in such diverse areas as: carbon credits and taxes, sustainable standard-setting and trade in ‘green’ goods and services or investment, from both a regional and global perspective. Panagiotis Delimatsis redefines the interrelationship of trade and climate change for future scholarship in this area.
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Chapter 7: Sustainable standard-setting, climate change and the TBT Agreement

Panagiotis Delimatsis


The increased importance of environmental protection led to the introduction of sustainability-related criteria in standard-setting practices. A discomfort with the functioning, working methods and certain rigidities of the global standardizing bodies such as the International Standardization Organization (ISO) led to a mushrooming of a new generation of private standard-setters at the transnational level that wanted to have a more direct influence over global production and supply chains. Many of these initiatives started as coalitions of relatively powerful downstream retailers or as domestic hybrid initiatives that went global, due to their good reputation in setting standards for business conduct. Against this background, this chapter reviews the current landscape of voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) globally as a means to organize, coordinate and manage efforts for corporate responsibility, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation. As these schemes grow in prominence, their effects on trade flows also become more visible and sometimes even worrisome. The chapter analyses in particular whether the rules set out in the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and the Code of Good Practice can tame this increasingly important form of transnational rule-making.

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