Caribbean businesses to go green with help from sustainable development hub

The International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has announced the launch of the Caribbean Trade for Sustainable Development (T4SD) hub, the latest in its network to help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) to develop green and viable business models.

Over the next two years, the Caribbean T4SD hub will address key topics such as climate resilience, resource efficiency, circularity, sustainability standards and access to green finance and international value chains that are key challenges for Caribbean MSMEs to become and remain competitive.

According to Caribbean Export, the hub will deploy a unique programme comprised of blended learning activities, including e-learnings, webinars and customized face-to-face coaching sessions. The learning activities will incorporate ITC’s existing tools and services and provide guidance to MSMEs on ways to integrate sustainable practices into their core business models.

In his opening remarks at the programme’s virtual launch last Friday, Caribbean Export Executive Director Deodat Maharaj underscored that the partnership was “timely and necessary”.

“… For SMEs to enhance their competitiveness it requires a concerted effort to protect against the vulnerability to disaster events, improved efficiency of the limited resources available and the identification of ways to rapidly expand production capacity. Moreover, our SMEs must be positioned to maximise the use of existing market access arrangements by overcoming technical barriers to trade,” he said.

ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton further indicated that the region is positioning itself at the centre of the current trade debate, which largely focuses around how trade can contribute to an inclusive green recovery and transition.

“Trade can be a powerful tool to ensure a resilient and net zero emissions future, which leaves no one behind, when we ensure that it is used in the right way. Any stakeholder along an international value chain – whether a consumer, local producer or international brand – can play its role to transform our trading system by demanding sustainable products, by adhering to sustainability standards, and by implementing sustainable business practices,” Coke-Hamilton said.

Caribbean Export is joining a global network of T4SD Hubs, which have been established with local institutions in Ghana, Kenya, Laos, Nepal, Peru and Vietnam to strengthen the competitiveness of MSMEs by implementing green business practices, which help MSMEs to become climate resilient, lower their carbon emissions, recycle waste, get certified with sustainability standards and access green finance and value chains.