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As the EU remains a global leader in the transition to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy and at the forefront of climate ambition with the European Green Deal, it must demonstrate its ability to bring together its climate and trade agendas, contribute to the EU’s resilience and welfare, and provide much-needed international leadership around this alignment.

Our aim is for an EU whose trade goals align with its climate and broader sustainability and social ambitions, whose bilateral trade agreements include unambiguous and effective climate clauses, and whose unilateral trade measures – including the landmark carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) – are similarly environmentally robust. We seek to advance a third way between free-trade and protectionist approaches, broaching the topics of supply chain resilience to climate impacts, sustainable production, and the right balance of trade openness to spread the innovations critical to achieving the goals and multilateral spirit of the Paris Agreement.

Our vision – A twin imperative

  • Promoting a global agenda for aligning international trade rules with the Paris Agreement & the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through all the tools that govern international trade relations
  • Aligning European trade policy with the European Green Deal’s climate ambition, and making it a template for a trade policy serving the decarbonization of the domestic and international economy
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Key challenges

  • Difficulties that come with political processes at the World Trade Organization, in parallel to diplomatic sensitivities and the increased weaponization of trade
  • Monitoring the Directorate-General for Trade and its rightful understanding of its mandate
  • Maintaining civil society engagement on a third way between free trade and protectionism
  • Facing incumbent trade agreements and lack of sensitivity to climate and concerns regarding Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)
  • Mapping climate impacts on supply chains (adaptation), understanding material needs for climate mitigation, and enabling trade policy to support procurement of these
  • Understanding how the Ukraine crisis may affect current and future green supply chain needs


  • Supporting and sustaining a Green Trade Network of grantees working on the nexus of trade and climate policy, as a forum to facilitate discussions around a range of trade measures from CBAM to deforestation-free supply chains and corporate due diligence
  • Monitoring and shaping the debate around the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, as well as wider debates on proposed mechanisms elsewhere, and promoting policy dialogue around the design of an effective and politically acceptable mechanism
  • Through our partners, facilitating the debate around the need to strengthen the trade and sustainable development chapters of Free Trade Agreements as an important policy lever
  • Promoting discussion on green trade in the multilateral sphere at the WTO through our network of partners, with particular focus on further progress towards a Trade Ministers’ Coalition
  • Ensuring partners contribute to European Commission consultations on the integration of climate and trade
  • Working closely with the ECF Industry, Diplomacy and Land Use teams on joint projects

How we work

The ECF Trade team identifies gaps and weaknesses in the EU trade policy response to climate change and funds organisations and coalitions of stakeholders with the right expertise and public profile to address key issues at the European, member state and international levels.

One of our key achievements has been the establishment of the Green Trade Network, a group of European think tanks and NGOs working towards greening trade policy in the EU and beyond.

We also take a broad approach to the types of interventions we fund – from studies to strategic foresight and youth activism on fair trade and climate – because all of these activities build towards an ambitious and effective movement.


Richard Baron

Executive Director, 2050 Pathways Platform & Director, Trade

Jacob Armstrong

Project Management Officer, International and Trade Programmes

Andrew Child

Strategic Communications Lead, Trade

Matthew Langdon

Associate, Trade Programme

Samuel Leré

Senior Associate, Trade Programme