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Green Trade Strategy

Green Trade Strategy cover page with USCBP logo as well as the green trade logo of green leaf and white circle. The background of the image depicting planes, and a port

Read about CBP's Green Trade Strategy

Committing to a More Sustainable Future for Trade

Launched in June 2022, CBP’s Green Trade Strategy governs the agency’s efforts to combat climate change in the context of the trade mission and provides a framework to incentivize green trade, strengthen CBP’s environmental enforcement posture, accelerate green innovation, and improve climate resilience and resource efficiency. The Strategy establishes a proactive model to combat the negative impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on the agency’s trade mission while strengthening existing enforcement activities against environmental trade crimes including illegal logging; wildlife trafficking; illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; illegal mining; and other violations of environmental laws and regulations. It also defines goals for environmentally sustainable trade policies, programs, and infrastructure within the agency.

Recent studies have indicated that global supply chains contribute a significant amount to the world’s total carbon emissions. In addition, environmental crime represents between $85 billion and $265 billion in criminal revenue each year and is often linked to money laundering and the funding of transnational criminal organizations. CBP is well positioned to help develop and enforce a cleaner, more sustainable international trading environment through the agency’s influence on global supply chain practices and enforcement of laws against environmental crimes. The CBP Green Trade Strategy aligns with broader Department of Homeland Security efforts and supports a whole-of-government approach to mitigating risk and seizing opportunities associated with climate change and environmental stewardship within the trade space.

Our Vision

Establish CBP as a champion for the green economy and a leader in the fight against climate change by facilitating the global transition to green trade and serving as a responsible steward of our own environmental footprint.

With the Green Trade Strategy, CBP is looking to set an example for customs authorities around the world to develop higher, greener standards for global trade while creating an opportunity for government, industry, and the public to unify efforts in the creation of a more sustainable future.

Strategic Goals

Four strategic goals will focus CBP’s efforts to address climate change in the context of the trade mission and achieve our Green Trade Vision. Executing against these goals will enable CBP to champion the green economy and accelerate the global transition to green trade both in the U.S. and abroad, while responsibly managing our own environmental footprint.

Goal: Provide facilitation benefits and other incentives to promote environmentally-friendly trade practices and supply chains.

Potential Opportunities

  • Develop green trade incentive programs and other facilitation mechanisms
  • Incorporate environmental priorities into existing trade programs
  • Collaborate with international partners to incentivize green trade, build global capacity, and harmonize approaches

Desired Outcomes

  • Expedited transition to green trade practices
  • Tangible financial and environmental benefits for our trade industry partners
  • Enhanced green standards around the world

Goal: Enforce against environmental bad actors to drive meaningful changes in trade practices.

Potential Opportunities

  • Prioritize enforcement of environmental laws and controls in conjunction with partner government agencies
  • Enhance supply chain visibility to illuminate environmental risk factors
  • Bolster information sharing with stakeholders to promote coordinated enforcement
  • Coordinate with domestic and foreign governments to enforce environmental provisions in trade agreements

Desired Outcomes

  • Targeted and timely enforcement against environmental crime
  • Coordinated enforcement efforts with international partners
  • Strong environmental provisions in trade agreements, complemented by effective accountability mechanisms

Goal: Promote and invest in the deployment of innovative, sustainable trade practices by government and private industry.

Potential Opportunities

  • Identify ways that industry can play a role in addressing the climate crisis
  • Promote research pertaining to green trade
  • Align customs processes with a green future
  • Incentivize green innovation by industry

Desired Outcomes

  • Environmentally-conscious operations that are informed by cutting-edge research and are able to accommodate ongoing innovation in green trade
  • Motivated industrial base focused on bringing green technologies and other innovations to market
  • Coordinated approach by trade stakeholders to addressing the risks posed by climate change

Goal: Decrease the greenhouse gas emissions associated with CBP operations and strengthen the resilience and sustainability of trade infrastructure and assets.

Potential Opportunities

  • Promote resource efficiency through renewable and/or energy efficient sources and waste management practices to reduce CBP’s carbon footprint
  • Utilize flexible and non-traditional work arrangements to decrease workforce environmental impacts
  • Improve the resilience of our workforce and infrastructure against the effects of climate change

Desired Outcomes

  • Reduced carbon footprint and energy consumption driven by energy-efficient facilities and assets
  • High levels of mission readiness and a workforce that is prepared to operate in a changing operational environment

Guiding Principles

The following principles serve as the overarching ideals that will guide CBP strategies and actions related to green trade:






Frequently Asked Questions

A: Climate change has a clear connection to international trade and CBP’s trade mission. Recent studies have estimated that global supply chains may account for as much as 80 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions. In addition, environmental crime represents between $85 billion and $265 billion each year in criminal revenues and is often linked to money laundering and the funding of transnational criminal organizations. CBP is well positioned to make an impact on the path to a cleaner, more sustainable international trading environment due to the agency’s ability to influence global supply chain practices and enforce laws against environmental crime. In addition, CBP’s Green Trade Strategy aligns with broader Department efforts and supports a whole-of-government approach to mitigating the risks and seizing the opportunities associated with climate change.

A: Among other activities, CBP is purchasing electric vehicles and charging stations, designing CBP facilities to be more energy efficient, enforcing environmental provisions under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and surveying industry and academia on practices and technologies for reducing emissions in international trade and conveyance. The Green Trade Strategy is intended to serve as a catalyst for advancing and expanding CBP’s green trade efforts and for integrating environmental considerations into our day-to-day operations.

A: CBP is currently conducting research to develop a better understanding of “the art of the possible” for meaningful and effective green trade incentives. Our plans include reviewing existing authorized economic operator programs, surveying international organizations and governments such as the World Customs Organization and the European Union, and engaging with our industry partners, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions to solicit ideas and perspectives. The goal is to identify incentives that aim to reduce carbon emissions, encourage the use of eco-friendly modes of transport, and support adoption of technologies and practices with positive environmental impacts. Incentives would encourage green trade practices while avoiding negative impacts on the flow of legitimate cargo.

A: CBP is establishing targets and metrics specifically for the Green Trade Strategy. However, there are other existing metrics that address the environmental impact of CBP activities and comply with Federal reporting requirements. For example, CBP tracks and reports its annual performance on a series of energy and sustainability metrics, including Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, CBP achieved a 69.4% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions from its FY 2008 baseline value, which surpassed its FY 2021 reduction goal of 35.0%. Going forward, CBP plans to leverage existing metrics and implement new metrics to help achieve green trade goals.

A: CBP actively leverages its existing authorities to combat climate change. While CBP is not currently pursing any new rulemaking directly related to the Green Trade Strategy, CBP is working with partner government agencies (PGAs) to enforce existing environmental provisions such as those under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and other existing PGA authorities. CBP will continue to work with PGAs to enforce laws and regulations that prevent importation and affect seizures of goods related to environmental crimes. If new or updated regulations are required for any future green trade initiatives, CBP will follow established rulemaking procedures.

A: Environmental violations related to trade may be reported to CBP via CBP’s eAllegations portal. Allegations that lead to penalties, seizure, or the recovery of revenue may be entitled to compensation under CBP’s Moiety Program.

A: CBP will continue to incorporate and act on new knowledge, information, and guidance as these become available, rather than simply prescribing a static list of activities. Examples provided in the Green Trade Strategy are illustrative starting points and should not be considered a comprehensive list or the limit of our aspirations.

Last Modified: Mar 01, 2024