At an event on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), high-level officials from governments, the UN system, NGOs and the private sector stressed the importance of SCP and of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) for sustainable development.
They also discussed initiatives taken so far, and elements needed to make the shift to SCP.
The event was co-organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Economic Forum, on the sidelines of the High Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the SDGs convened by the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
21 April 2016: At an event on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), high-level officials from governments, the UN system, NGOs and the private sector stressed the importance of SCP and of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) for sustainable development. They also discussed initiatives taken so far, and elements needed to make the shift to SCP. The event was co-organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Economic Forum, on the sidelines of the High Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the SDGs convened by the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
Opening the meeting on 21 April 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, said the notion of SCP “is woven through the 2030 Agenda” on Sustainable Development and its SDGs. He noted the need to make 10YFP attractive to various sectors and stakeholders, and said the Framework and related initiatives are drivers in “rethinking our economies.” He later remarked that by adopting the SDGs, the international community accepted their complexity, and SCP is a way to make the necessary changes to reach the Goals.
Speakers at the event were asked to reflect on: challenges, opportunities and enablers for achieving specific SDG targets; actions and partnerships that could immediately be initiated and established to achieve SCP-related targets; and future commitments that organizations could take into account to support an “SCP implementation partnership” for the SDGs.
Explaining the 10YFP, Charles Arden-Clarke, Head of the 10YFP Secretariat, UNEP, said it is a platform for implementation and for promoting the shift towards SCP, and covers US$6 million worth of projects, which he said is “tiny” in the context of the global economy. He said the Framework is predominantly public-sector-based but also includes partners from companies, NGOs, advocacy organizations and researchers, and looked forward to greater partnership and collaboration. Arden-Clark noted that SCP and the 10YFP are part of SDG 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns) and are also included in other SDGs and targets.
On the importance of SCP, Izabella Texeira, Minister of Environment, Brazil, said SCP is an agenda based on solutions not on problems, and is a way to bring together the private sector and other stakeholders. Dominic Waughray, Head of Public-Private Partnership, World Economic Forum, remarked that the SCP framework is “a real opportunity for systems change,” while Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister of Agriculture and Environment, Finland, said decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation is a key objective of SCP and the 10YFP, and this also should be seen in relation with social well-being and quality of life.
Participants outlined a series of SCP-related initiatives that align with SDGs targets, including: target 11.2 (on providing access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all); target 11.6 (on reducing the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities); various targets related to Goal 13 on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; target 12.4 (on achieving the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle); target 12.3 (on halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains); and target 2.4 (on ensuring sustainable food production systems).
Among these initiatives, Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), highlighted UNECE’s work on harmonizing vehicle regulations, standards for construction, smart sustainable cities indicators, and suggested building a “bicycle coalition.” He also noted that UNECE is working toward standards on cucumbers, stating that such standards “are useful for creating sustainable food systems.” Frances Veronica Victorio, Philippines’ Commissioner for Climate Change, said the Commission was created six years ago, is chaired by the Philippines President, and is acting as a policy formulation and coordinating body. Li Yong, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Director General, said UNIDO supports chemical leasing, an approach expected to increase the efficient use of chemicals, reduce risks to human health and improve the economic and environmental performance of companies. Andrew Steer, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the World Resources Institute (WRI), announced that the Institute will launch a Food Loss & Waste Protocol. Jeff Seabright, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever, said his company was involved in setting up the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an initiative that seeks to transform the palm oil industry in collaboration with the global supply chain, to put it on a sustainable path.
Participants also outlined elements needed to make the shift towards SCP, including: networking; public-private partnerships (PPPs) and a stronger involvement of the private sector; cross-governmental and cross-sectoral collaborations; innovation; leadership “from the top and from the bottom”; behavioral changes; and consumer information. Many noted that incremental changes will not be enough to shift to SCP patterns.
Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, Ikea, said setting a clear strategy with sustainable development targets at the core of business practices and models is essential. Yolanda Kakabadse, President of the Board, WWF International, called for production systems that serve the underprivileged, noting that currently they are designed to serve mainly the privileged. Jérome Schmitt, Executive Vice President, TOTAL SA, called for waiving import taxes and value-added tax on solar products, and easing carbon credit certification.
The 10YFP has six programmes involving over 450 partner institutions worldwide. The programmes focus on: sustainable public procurement; consumer information; sustainable tourism; sustainable lifestyles and education; sustainable buildings and construction; and sustainable food systems. UNEP serves as the 10YFP Secretariat. [IISD RS Sources] [10YFP Website] [IISD RS Ccoverage of High-level Thematic Debate on Achieving the SDGs] [High-Level Debate Website]