HLPF Side Event Identifies Policies and Actions to Work Towards SDG 12
Photo by Arturo Rivera
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Speakers outlined efforts their countries and organizations have undertaken to integrate SCP patterns into their policies, operations and actions.

Panelists from Germany, Mexico, World Wildlife Fund for Nature, UN Environment and The Body Shop highlighted strategies, approaches and policies that can shift individual and societal practices towards SCP patterns.

16 July 2018: A side event, convened in the margins of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), discussed sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and how SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) can be spurred to achieve sustainable lifestyles.

Organized by the Government of Germany, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and One Planet Network, the event featured a panel consisting of representatives from Germany, Mexico, WWF, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) and The Body Shop. Speakers outlined efforts their countries and organizations have undertaken to integrate SCP patterns into their policies, operations and actions.

Emphasizing the importance of decoupling resource use from environmental impacts, Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), noted that many ecological and social problems stem from consumption and production practices. She described how the German Sustainable Development Strategy has been updated to accelerate SDG implementation, noting two new SCP indicators on the market share of goods with verified eco-labels and CO2 emissions from consumption in private households. She also highlighted two goals in Germany, to better-inform the public via e-commerce information and eco-labeling, and to extend the life of products.

We currently throw away up to 40% of the food we produce.

María Teresa Solís Trejo, Secretariat for Tourism, Mexico, noted that traditional patterns of culture and consumption have changed, and that the country, broadly, has adopted US models of city planning and diet, which has increased child obesity and negatively impacted species biodiversity. She outlined how the Government of Mexico has been working with the tourism industry to reduce environmental impacts, and highlighted a national policy that supports Mexican gastronomy.

Ligia Noronha, One Planet Network, UN Environment, underscored that work on production without sufficient attention to consumption will reach a limit in terms of impact, and that it is key to focus on both sides. She outlined the six programmes under the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on SCP (10YFP), three of which are sectoral (food systems, building and construction, and tourism) and three are cross-cutting (consumer information, lifestyles and education, and sustainable public procurement).

Joao Campari, WWF International, spoke to the organization’s efforts within its Food Practice, noting that people, at both individual and societal levels, do not know what we actually need. He flagged that we currently throw away up to 40% of the food we produce, and that we create problems for ourselves in the form of overnutrition. Campari also emphasized that, despite these issues, there are still people who do not eat three meals per day.

Chris Davis, The Body Shop, presented on the company’s “mantra,” noting that since its inception, the business has tried to have the lightest footprint possible, emphasizing that SCP is “good business,” in part due to cost savings. He described differences in country readiness, noting that in some regions, their packaging is fully recyclable, but that in others, the infrastructure is not yet there.

During the question and answer portion of the event, audience members asked about how to get sustainability onto the agenda in industry roundtables, the role of extended producer responsibility (EPR) in fostering SCP patterns, and whether there are trade-offs associated with businesses sharing lessons learned with their competitors.

Birgitte Bryld, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), moderated the panel. [Event Agenda: Working towards SDG 12: What Policies and Actions are Needed?] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

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