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National Working Group on Trade and the Environment

Monday 19, April-2004


COMPANIES and manufacturers have been advised to make their goods and services “environmentally friendly” to enable them to capture a bigger part of the global market.

Director of International Business, Ministry of Industry and International Business, Francoise Hendy, gave the advice while speaking at the fifth annual seminar of the National Working Group on Trade and the Environment, on Wednesday.

Ms. Hendy explained that although there is no single protocol on the environment per se, it is a thread that runs through all the nine protocols of CSME and the platform on which the region wants to sell itself to the world.

She suggested that companies should start using environmental branding to differentiate their goods and services and to become more internationally competitive. Hendy stressed that nowhere else in the world has that connection been made between competition policy and the environment.

“ We place a high premium on the environment and that is going to inform how we apply the rules and principles of competition to commerce and, based on that, we’re at the cutting edge of trade and environment. There’s no other region in the world that has that in place . . . .

“There is need for Caribbean people to understand that nexus because it creates international competitiveness to your goods and services that others don’t have. We have to find a way to harness that environmental stamp like the blue flag and make it an important part of how we compete internationally.

“As we protect our own environment, we’ll see that we have something and different and which allows us to distinguish ourselves in the international market.”

Hendy emphasised that environment is key and that companies should find creative ways of using it to sell themselves, without offending the rules of competition.

“It’s up to you to figure out how to fuse an environmental component to your goods and services for export and to have protection within the region of the competition policy and how to interpret it to give you that platform for international competitiveness.”

Hendy said the narrow view of the environment as “sand sea and sun” must replaced with the wider notion of the environment as all encompassing.

“We have to stop thinking about the environment as a discreet, sub-sector of something else. The environment is all around us, not the specific structure that we have in the Caribbean, not just about tourism. Environment is everything that we are, everything that we do. The cultural component of the environment is also key.

“We have to use the environment to support your ambitious agenda. We have to capture those threads of the environment and express them in our goods and services and use that in our international competitiveness. We have to use the environment in all that we do from a business perspective – many countries are unable to harness the environment as much as we do.”

According to Hendy, the environment relates to innovation, and much like intellectual property, provides companies with a tangible way of using various themes to come up with a business enterprise that will be profitable.

Compliments of the Nation News


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