Successful initiatives to promote sustainable consumption and production are flourishing around the globe, but further efforts are needed to embed such practices in existing policy frameworks, according to a new Global Outlook Report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the European Commission. The Report released today at Stockholm+40, an event marking the 40th anniversary of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, presents an overview of efforts worldwide to shift towards sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns. The aim is to identify and share promising examples of effective policies and to propose recommendations to help support for SCP move ahead.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said: “The Rio+20 United Nations Conference will draw attention to sustainable consumption and production and the green economy as key priorities for global sustainable development. We must use natural resources in a far more efficient manner, if we are to meet our needs and improve our level of well-being all over the world. The way we consume and produce will be key to our success or failure. This Report will be a great tool to replicate sustainable best practices globally and I hope it will encourage fruitful partnerships worldwide.”
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director who is attending Stockholm+40, said: “Realizing a low carbon, resource-efficient and employment-generating Green Economy is the challenge for world leaders when they meet in Rio this June, 40 years after Stockholm and two decades after the Rio Earth Summit of 1992. This report further underlines that governments are not starting from zero – many of the transformations towards sustainable societies are flourishing within countries and communities across the globe. Rio+20 offers the opportunity to accelerate and scale-up these policies and projects in order to secure the prospects and prosperity of seven billion people, rising to over nine billion by 2050.”
Recent crises linked to finance, fuel, food and the environment are linked to unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, and all pose serious threats to global development. Shifting to sustainable consumption and production patterns will help improve the well-being of some of the world’s poorest people as well as protect the resources that nature provides.
The Global Outlook on SCP Policies presents concrete actions to advance sustainable development across the globe. It includes 56 case studies of successful initiatives, like support for composting in Surabaya, Indonesia, commercial production of medicinal plants by a community forest conservation group in Kenya, the spread of the “Ecolabel” to help consumers choose environmentally-friendly products in Europe, and regional sustainable public procurement initiatives introduced by the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD).
The Global Outlook also provides recommendations to adapt, replicate and scale up SCP policies and initiatives. It encourages decision-makers in all arenas to take action that will be followed up in the years to come. The recommendations include:
- Integrate SCP into policy frameworks and strategic plans
- Ensure the collection of more SCP data to measure policy effectiveness and track progress
- Learn from experience to develop an optimal policy mix
- Provide enabling policy frameworks to encourage business investments on SCP
- Adopt and apply alternative measures of progress beyond GDP
- Give more emphasis to the demand side to promote sustainable lifestyles
- Enhance responsible marketing and media through policies and campaigns
- Draw on and further develop partnerships among all actors and regions