The export of used goods has grown into a major business. For example, used plant and machinery to a value of around 100 billion US Dollars and used cars to a value of around 50 billion Dollars a year are exported – mostly to developing and emerging countries. But what impact is this trend having on the environment and on communities in the importing countries?
To provide an answer to the question, the study investigated the two aforementioned categories used plant and machinery and used vehicles by way of example. The results of the study showed, among other findings, that there are in most cases no rules in place limiting the resultant environmental impact in the importing countries. This creates a regulatory paradox in terms of environmental policy: More stringent legislation in Germany is merely causing the pollution it prevents to be transferred abroad.
A separate section of the study investigated the energy efficiency of buildings in developing and emerging countries and in a number of selected specific countries. The results indicate significant potential for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. In China alone, after a 10-year period of grace 15 million tonnes of CO2 per year could be saved if all new buildings were fitted out with better thermal insulation.