Environmental Gems in Trade Agreements: Little-known Clauses for Progressive Trade Agreements

CIGI Paper No. 148

October 11, 2017

Trade agreements contain an increasing number of environmental provisions. Some of these provisions now relate to precise environmental issues, such as biodiversity or hazardous waste management. Certain trade agreements even devote entire chapters to environmental protection. However, the rate of innovative environmental clauses per agreement has declined over the years. This paper draws attention to some of the lesser-known provisions encountered in five agreements or fewer. These “legal one-hit wonders” do not often reach the billboard, despite their uniqueness and creativity.

The objective of this paper is to put the spotlight on them in the hope of contributing to the diffusion of best practices, providing negotiators with ideas to emulate in future trade agreements. It also reveals some of the weak spots in the interplay between trade and environment.

About the Authors

Jean-Frédéric Morin is a CIGI senior fellow and an associate professor at Laval University, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy.

Rosalie Gauthier Nadeau has been a research assistant at the Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy since 2016.