CBAM: Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), another step towards sustainability

Recent years have witnessed an unprecedented transformation in global awareness of the importance of sustainability. Environmental initiatives have emerged as a powerful engine to drive the transition to cleaner energy, more sustainable industry and greener habits.

In this context, the European Union has implemented a new tax: the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). A measure to put a price on carbon emitted from carbon intensive goods imported into Europe.

What is CBAM and what are its effects?

The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is a tariff that regulates the prices of imported materials based on their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It initially applies to imports of high-polluting goods such as cement, iron and steel, aluminium, fertilisers, electricity and hydrogen. If the emissions associated with the production of these materials exceed European standards, importers must purchase emissions certificates at the EU CO2 price.

In terms of economic impact, carbon pricing can stimulate investments in innovation and modernisation on the European continent, generating competitive advantages and economic benefits. However, there are concerns about the efficiency of companies in the short term as it is not yet a global practice. Companies in carbon-priced countries could lose business opportunities and market share to competitors that do not have to consider the costs of carbon pollution.

The current transitional period

We are currently in a transitional period in the application of this tax. During this phase, importers only have to declare the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions embodied in the goods they import, without making any payment or financial adjustment. The purpose of this transitional period is to serve as a pilot phase for all stakeholders, including importers, producers and administration.

Once the final system enters into force on 1 January 2026, importers will have to declare each year the quantity of goods imported into the EU in the previous year and their embodied GHGs. At the same time, they will have to surrender previously purchased CBAM certificates to the authorities. A high-impact method for companies to commit to a more sustainable production and transport system, without excess polluting emissions for the planet.

Given the involvement of the supply chain in this area, Operinter, an integrated logistics operator committed to sustainability in transport, has detailed phase by phase and term by term the characteristics and applications of this new tariff in the logistics sector. You can consult the didactic video here:

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