Trade is of vital importance in the world because resources are distributed unevenly. One country has water, another oil, yet another has a surplus of food, and sadly another has developed expertise in making modern weapons or refining drugs. Trade both legal and illegal connects the world, supplyinmg needs and making money for both big companies as well as farmers and small businesses. The modern ideology of sustainability goes very much the grain of the concept of trade because it preaches that communities should learn to cater for their own needs rather than increasing carbon emissions by bringing goods and services in from outside.
However, sometimes the negative of carbon emissions needs to be balanced by other considerations. Take, for example, the coconut business. Coconuts only grow in hot tropical climates because the coconut palm cannot withstand frost in the winter. For many communities in Africa, the Caribbean, the Philippines, India, Polynesia and South East Asia the coconut industry is a vital source of income. It is a plant that is considered renewable since it takers only 7 years to mature. Moreover the coconut can be cultivated organically. These are all important economic and environmentally friendly reasons to continue the world coconut trade.
Also coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut water and coconut flour are all important health foods. The lauric acid found in coconut milk and coconut oil provides antimicorbial protection with the body. It has also been shown to stimulate the thyroid gland and been instrumental in fighting cancer and HIV. Coconut products are an important source of traditional medicine for many people in the world. These benefits should also be available to Western countries that are too cold to grow their own coconut palms.
Thus, the example of the coconut trading business is a clear example of the necessity of shipping some products around the world despite the carbon emissions involved in doing so.