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Getting the “Bads” Out of Goods

Evolution from voluntary to regulated approaches in reducing the undesirable impacts of global trade

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Over the past seventy years the rapid expansion of international trade and the growth of international supply chains, with various stages of production processes located in different countries, has at the same time facilitated the growth of trade in “undesirable products” associated with “global public bads”: trade in goods which are produced illegally or unsustainably (defined as production which does not respect environmental or social aims or norms).

The study uses lessons from other supply chains to lay out the next steps for tackling the global trade in commercial agricultural products, such as soy, palm oil, beef and cocoa, that are responsible for almost three quarters of tropical deforestation. It finds that tackling these ‘bads’ can only be achieved effectively through national and international regulations and agreements.