Stronger EU Partnerships for Sustainable Supply Chains

Författare: Engström Mats

How can the EU better support the ‘greening’ of supply chains? One way, writes Mats Engström, is by building stronger partnerships with the low- and middle-income countries where the factories, farms, and green raw materials are often located. (2024:5epa)

European manufacturers are trying to reduce the climate and environmental impact of their supply chains. This is sometimes voluntary, sometimes in response to recent member state and EU regulation: mandatory due diligence and reporting requirements, a carbon emission border tax and special rules on products linked to deforestation, for example.

Such activity nearly always has an impact on the countries of the global south where the links in European supply chains can in many cases today be found. And making production more sustainable very often depends on accessing raw materials which are also supplied by those countries and regions.

This has caused frictions – Europe is not always seen as a supportive development partner and is sometimes accused of green protectionism or green extractivism – and such frictions could delay or derail the process. In this analysis, SIEPS senior advisor and expert in international environmental policy Mats Engström looks at how stronger partnerships can help ensure that the benefits of the green transition are shared.

He examines the partnership efforts of other actors such as China and Japan, considers multilateral efforts, and makes some concrete policy recommendations:

  • more dialogue with countries most affected by EU actions

  • greater economic support for research and demonstration

  • improved trade-linked development assistance (‘aid-for-trade’) and

  • further efforts to advance green skills and low-carbon energy systems in partner countries.

Mats Engström has previously written for SIEPS on the global impact of EU climate and environmental policy.