Press releases

Trade on climate agenda for first time at COP28; ITC to spotlight solutions by small businesses

29 November 2023
ITC News

(Geneva/Dubai) – Trade is an official theme of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, from 30 November to 12 December, signalling trade as a solution to climate change, by addressing its key drivers and mitigating its impact.

The UN small business agency, the International Trade Centre (ITC), will bring the voice of small business to the trade and climate discussions. Small businesses make up 90% of all companies and two-thirds of jobs worldwide, yet their perspectives are often not included in policymaking.

Agriculture, for example, is particularly vulnerable to climate change and is also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Smallholder farmers provide one-third of the global food supply, a figure that can go as high as 80% in some countries, yet their concerns and ideas are not reflected in crafting the legislation that impacts them.

Tackling climate change through small businesses 

Small businesses know they need to make the low-carbon transition – and are willing to do so – but many are unable to act, according to ITC research. They lack information, skills, technology and financing. On financing, only 1.7% of climate finance goes to small-scale farmers in developing countries, although they are among the most vulnerable.

‘Small businesses in developing countries need two things to make the low-carbon transition – capacity and capital,’ said ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton. ‘Some are already taking action, by using renewable energy sources, reducing waste, and creating biodiverse products and services. More small businesses need to be equipped with the skills and financing to make those changes and to scale their solutions, and we’re here to help.’

ITC will bring a delegation of small businesses and business support organizations to share their scalable solutions and best practices with COP28 negotiators and participants. They include a Peruvian biodiversity-conscious food and cosmetics company (Shiwi), a Moroccan cooperative of 600 artisans that uses technology to reduce carbon emissions along supply chains (Anou), a Barbadian sustainable agrotourism company (Coco Hill Forest), an Egyptian coffee waste management company (Cupmena) and a South African textile upcycling business (Sari for Change). 

Co-hosting the COP28 Trade House

At COP28, ITC will co-host the first-ever Trade House pavilion alongside three international organizations – the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) – where discussions will showcase trade-led solutions to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, in a way that does not leave anyone behind.

At the Trade House, ITC will highlight the role of small businesses, especially those led by women, young people, Indigenous Peoples and members of marginalized groups, in driving sustainable change.

More information on ITC’s COP28 activities is on the ITC COP28 landing page.

Notes for the Editor

About the Trade House – The Trade House pavilion at this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) is a dedicated space to spark discussions and solutions on how trade can help drive climate and sustainable development actions. For the first time, trade is featured as a specific theme at the conference, as part of the United Arab Emirates’ COP28 Presidency Programme. The pavilion is hosted by four international agencies: the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Activities at the Trade House will focus on accelerating climate action through trade-led development, using coordinated and inclusive approaches to ensure a just transition. 

About the International Trade Centre - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, visit

Follow ITC on X | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Flickr

To request an interview with the ITC Executive Director, contact:

Susanna Pak
Senior Strategic Communications Officer
International Trade Centre
E: pak [at]
T: +41 22 730 0651
M: +41 79 667 4660