Banking & finance

ICC Standards for Sustainable Trade and Sustainable Trade Finance

  • 10 November 2021

ICC Standards for Sustainable Trade and Sustainable Trade Finance

Roadmap and Vision for Industry, Policymakers, and Traders Worldwide’ – to act as a first step in the complex journey of defining and setting implementable standards for sustainable trade and trade finance.

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The Roadmap and Vision for Industry, Policymakers, and Traders Worldwide – is the first output of a newly-launched ICC project aiming to align on a consistent definition of sustainable trade and trade finance, set out what specifically constitutes a sustainable trade transaction, and propose a framework and assessment methodology to qualify trade transactions for this purpose.

The first stone of the project is the positioning paper which is laying ground on the definitions of sustainable trade and trade finance, a comparison with other sustainability measures and why those can or cannot be applied for trade finance.

It overall covers the current hypotheses on the objectives, principles and definitions relative to sustainable trade and sustainable trade finance, the foreseen roadmap until and during implementation, an introduction to the methodology for assessment of sustainable trade, and a view on how standards will be applied to enable this assessment.

The end-state ambition of the project is to accelerate global trade’s role in helping businesses meet both the Paris agreement towards a reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – that go beyond environmental sustainability. In addition, the project aims to enable greater understanding of sustainability considerations in global supply chains and inspire change across them.

The positioning paper includes a survey and we invite all readers to provide their feedback on the hypothesis presented as well as the potential hurdles and how we could overcome them.

This project is conducted by the ICC and more of 200 of its members and partnering with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

About ICC

ICC is the institutional representative of more than 45 million companies in over 100 countries with a mission to make business work for everyone, every day, everywhere. Through a unique mix of advocacy, solutions and standard setting, we promote international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation, in addition to providing market-leading dispute resolution services. Our members include many of the world’s leading companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce.


Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we help clients with total transformation—inspiring complex change, enabling organisations to grow, building sustainable competitive advantage, and driving bottom-line impact.

To help tackle climate change, advance racial equity, transition to a circular economy, boost economic development, create food systems and security, embrace large-scale renewables and clean technology, accelerate sustainable finance and investing, and build sustainable supply chains, BCG’s sustainability consultants help clients transform their business models to optimise for social and business value. This transformation can take many forms, ranging from expanding value chains to building cross-sector models.

As part of our commitment to protecting our planet and helping our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, BCG is deepening and broadening our focus. The BCG Center for Climate & Sustainability brings together more than 550 experts covering the full range of sustainability topics, including biodiversity, circular economy, decarbonisation, sustainable agriculture, transition financing, water management, and other ESG topics—across all sectors—to support our clients around the world. As the exclusive COP26 consultancy partner, BCG will work alongside companies and governments to identify ways to mitigate global climate change.