North-South Trade and the Distribution of Environmental Goods and Burdens: a Biophysical Perspective

Stefan Giljum, Nina Eisenmenger

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung


In the last 20 years, the implications of international trade for environmental distribution between North and South gained increasing attention in the debate on sustainable development. In this article, the authors take a biophysical perspective to analyze the distribution of environmental goods versus environmental burdens in North-South trade relations. Studies based on physical accounting are particularly suitable to elucidate environmental consequences of economic specialization processes in different world regions, as they clarify implications for both the use of natural resources and the generation of waste and of emissions in a coherent and comprehensive manner. Empirical evidence from biophysical accounting studies suggests that the formation of specific metabolic profiles of societies in the North and in the South, as a consequence of economic specialization, leads to an unequal environmental distribution. The article closes with an evaluation of policy measures and instruments appropriate for reducing negative environmental consequences of North-South trade.
Seiten (von - bis)73 - 100
FachzeitschriftJournal of Environment and Development
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 1 Dez. 2004