BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has announced the launch of the Caribbean Trade for Sustainable Development (T4SD) Hub, the latest in its network to help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to develop green and viable business models. The Caribbean Hub will be hosted by the Caribbean Export, the regional trade and investment promotion agency mandated to enhance the competitiveness of CARIFORUM MSMEs.
Caribbean Export is joining a global network of T4SD Hubs, which have been established with local institutions in Ghana, Kenya, Laos, Nepal, Peru and Viet Nam to strengthen the competitiveness of MSMEs by implementing green business practices, which help MSMEs to become climate-resilient, lower their carbon emissions, recycle waste, get certified with sustainability standards and access green finance and value chains.
Launching the Hub virtually on Friday, February 26, ITC executive director Pamela Coke-Hamilton, said:
“With the launch of the Caribbean T4SD Hub and the soon to be held UNCTAD 15, the region is positioning itself at the center of the current trade debate, which largely centers around how trade can contribute to an inclusive green recovery and transition. Trade can be a powerful tool to ensure a resilient and net zero emissions future, which leaves no one behind, when we ensure that it is used in the right way. Any stakeholder along an international value chain – whether a consumer, local producer or international brand – can play its role to transform our trading system by demanding sustainable products, by adhering to sustainability standards, and by implementing sustainable business practices.”
By hosting the Caribbean T4SD Hub, Caribbean Export will develop the expertise and skills to offer sustainability-related services for MSMEs to build the business case to go green.
In his opening remarks, Caribbean Export executive director Deodat Maharaj stressed the partnership was “timely and necessary”.
Further, “for SMEs to enhance their competitiveness requires a concerted effort to protect against the vulnerability to disaster events, improved efficiency of the limited resources available and the identification of ways to rapidly expand production capacity. Moreover, our SMEs must be positioned to maximize the use of existing market access arrangements, by overcoming technical barriers to trade.”
Over the next two years, the Caribbean T4SD Hub will address key topics such as climate resilience, resource efficiency, circularity, sustainability standards and access to green finance and international value chains that are key challenges for Caribbean MSMEs to become and remain competitive.
The hub will deploy a unique programme comprised of blended learning activities, including e-learnings, webinars and customized face-to-face coaching sessions. The learning activities will incorporate ITC’s existing tools and services and guide MSMEs on ways to integrate sustainable practices into their core business models.
Caribbean Export was selected to host the Caribbean T4SD Hub following a competitive process. The institution will work closely with ITC staff and sustainability experts to implement the various workstreams of the technical assistance. MSMEs that will be part of the hub’s coaching programme in the first two years of hub operations will be part of the pilot phase of the programme, which ITC will primarily lead. Following this, Caribbean Export foresees that it will have the necessary capacities to lead the continuation of the hub’s programme and mentor Caribbean MSMEs in establishing sustainability-driven export businesses.