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How sustainable trade and waste management can support climate mitigation through addressing plastic pollution

Mitigating climate change is a COP28 priority. COP28 will undertake a Global Stocktake of progress made towards meeting the Paris Agreement. 

The growing production of plastic materials and plastic wastes generation contributes to climate change, as most plastics are from fossil origin. In 2019, plastics generated 1.8 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which is equivalent to 3.4% of global emissions.   

Developing economies face complex tasks of managing plastic pollution, not least its wastes. Illegal landfills and storage sites, open burning lead not only to adverse effects to the public health and the environment but also increased GHG emissions. Unsustainable imports, in some cases illegal, into developing economies put additional burden on the waste disposal system. Valuable materials can be recovered, however the rest of wastes, including its toxic substances, end up in the environment. 

There is an urgent need to collect and manage waste to prevent black carbon and methane emissions. On one hand, efforts in waste prevention, reuse, recycling, and energy recovery can accelerate GHG reduction. On the other hand, sustainable trade is a powerful mechanism to reshape the situation on the ground regarding the use of plastics. Novel designs of plastic products, non-plastic material substitutes and packageless distribution methods can have a lower environmental footprint, carbon impact and offer income generation, job creation and sustainable livelihoods. 

The event will provide an opportunity to highlight the key matters from the WTO Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade. Finally, the event will showcase the importance of responsible trade in plastics, and the environmentally sound management of plastic waste, which would also tackle climate change, promote healthy oceans and protect biodiversity.

More Info


December 08 - 10:30
December 08 - 11:30
Opening Day
Blue Zone

Climate & Environment Collaboration Health Solutions


United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and World Trade Organization Secretariat
+41 22 739 51 11 and +41 22 917 58 09

COP guide 2023