Human-induced climate change and environmental degradation is no longer a nebulous future threat. It’s here, and it threatens global economic development, global health, and global security. Last year, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization declared climate change a “defining challenge of our time,” posing dangers to the security of allied nations and elsewhere.1Given its influence over global supply chain practices, which account for a significant portion of global emissions, CBP hopes to help move the needle toward more sustainable trade through the Green Trade Strategy, which the agency launched in 2022.
Customs agencies have long served as the first line of defense against the importation of products that harm the environment and are now uniquely positioned to make an impact in encouraging and enforcing cleaner, more environmentally sustainable international trade flows.
That’s why CBP launched the Green Trade Strategy. Through the strategy, CBP has established a proactive model to combat the negative impacts of climate change and environmental degradation in the context of the trade mission, by incentivizing the reduction of carbon emissions and the adoption of sustainable practices by industry, strengthening CBP’s environmental enforcement posture, and improving the climate resilience and resource efficiency of CBP’s own operations.
CBP’s trade mission encompasses thousands of employees, from international trade analysts to agriculture specialists, and the strategy will require participation across the CBP enterprise. This vast scope is reflected in the strategy’s four pillars:
- Incentivize Green Trade;
- Strengthen Environmental Enforcement Posture;
- Accelerate Green Innovation; and
- Improve Climate Resiliency and Resource Efficiency.
With these four pillars, the strategy provides a framework for future action. Success will require buy-in and collaboration from other federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, academia, foreign governments, and the private sector.
Fortunately, the agency is not starting from scratch and is working to implement the goals of the Green Trade Strategy in the context of larger government and private sector efforts. CBP is supported in its green trade ambitions by numerous Presidential Executive Orders (for example, E.O. 14008 “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad”), and provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and more. The Green Trade Strategy also aligns with the Department of Homeland Security’s Strategic Framework for Addressing Climate Change.
Read the Green Trade Strategy here.