24 Mar 2015

WTI to host commodities and trade workshop

A workshop will take place at the WTI on 21 April on research gaps in the field of commodities and trade. The University of Bern Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) and the Institute for Business Ethics (IWE) of the University of St. Gallen are co-hosting the event.

© Stephen Codrington

The workshop will be attended by around 30 invitees, mainly from Swiss academia and the federal administration.

Trading in commodities - natural resources that are mined or extracted, like oil and gas, and “soft” commodities such as coffee, sugar, cotton and paper - has a long tradition in Switzerland. But in recent years the activities of mining companies in particular have focused public attention and debate on the commodity trading sector as a whole. Swiss academia is now engaging with the topic in order to contribute to the ongoing debate.

“In recent years, the need to gain information about the commodity sector and commodity trade, and to improve analysis of available data has become apparent. The workshop will support academia in identifying the most urgent research needs,” said Lisa Bürgi Bonanomi, a senior researcher at both the WTI and the CDE.

The WTI, CDE and IWE workshop will focus on open research questions related to the trade in and the production and processing of hard and soft commodities.

It will include contributions from scholars and stakeholders engaged in research in the field and distinguished speakers from Swiss and international academia, the commodity-trading industry and civil society.

In the context of the project, Global change and developing countries: why should we care?, managed by KFPE (Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries) and ProClim- , the three university centres are currently working on a research paper that may serve as a basis for discussion.

Their research is sponsored by the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).