The Global Outlook on Sustainable Consumption and Production Policies provides a non-exhaustive review of policies and initiatives that are promoting the shift towards SCP patterns. It is illustrated by 56 case studies ranging from global multilateral agreements and regional strategies to specific policies and initiatives being implemented by governments, businesses and civil society organizations.
The report shows that from Mauritius to Colombia, and from Indonesia to the Czech Republic, more than 20 countries have adopted national SCP strategies identifying key priorities, opportunities and action plans. Business and industry have engaged in a broad range of initiatives to reduce resource depletion and environmental impacts, promoting, for example, corporate social responsibility, sustainable value chains and innovation. Civil society organizations have played a tremendous role in promoting SCP, capacity building, as well as in establishing effective ecolabelling and certification schemes to enable wiser consumer choices.
The Global Outlook on SCP Policies pursues six main objectives:
- Providing information and actions to move towards resource efficiency and SCP
- Reporting on examples of current practice that are noteworthy for their effectiveness, innovation or potential for replication elsewhere
- Sharing information on progress and action on SCP
- Identifying the needs of different actors for implementing SCP
- Providing inputs into the nineteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
- Informing on effective policies and investments to support the transition to a Green Economy, including providing inputs into the deliberations on Green Economy in the context of poverty alleviation and sustainable development at the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (Rio+20)
- Building a database of practices with demonstrated development benefits across the entire life cycle of products
SCP Policies at the Global Level
Box 1. Click the region to read more about the the Global Outlook at the regional level
Worldwide, the Global Outlook on SCP Policies reviews efforts to promote SCP that are being driven through international negotiations, implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and initiatives focused on thematic issues. Remarkable case studies such as the Montreal Protocol, The Basel convention, and the Marrakech Process clearly show that the adoption of an SCP approach as an international commitment and goal is an important milestone in tackling multi-dimentional challenges of poverty the world is facing.
At the global scale, business and industry have been at the forefront of innovation and initiatives to reduce resource depletion and environmental impacts. Civil society organizations have played a tremendous role in promoting SCP, capacity building, as well as in establishing effective ecolabelling and certification schemes to enable wiser consumer choices. Fairtrade International (FLO), which experienced a €3.4 billion sales increase worldwide, coordinates labels for around 15 product groups and promotes socially sustainable production while improving the living and working conditions of millions. Other instruments and tools such as the environmental management systems (EMS), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) have been tremendous in reducing resource depletion and environmental impacts.
The Global Outlook analyses activities on SCP undertaken by governments, business and civil society at the regional level. It also analyses the type of instruments (regulatory, economic, voluntary or information-based) that are used or promoted by these three actors (To read more about the Regional chapters, click regions in box 1).
The report, a joint undertaking by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the European Commission, provides recommendations to adapt, replicate and scale up SCP policies and initiatives contributing to the overarching goal of achieving sustainable development. It encourages decision-makers in all arenas to take action to:
- 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.
Towards a better transition to sustainable development
The Global Outlook on SCP Policies is an important step forward in gathering information on SCP policies supporting this transition. Building on this effort, as well as on the work achieved by the Marrakech Process on SCP, UNEP will continue to collect good initiatives and practices on SCP. This will be done in close cooperation with all stakeholders and UN agencies, with the objective of sharing information and experience among all regions and all actors. In the future, these efforts could contribute to the establishment of a more structured and dynamic global clearinghouse on SCP, facilitating exchange of information, knowledge on effective policies, and disseminating capacity-building tools. Such a clearinghouse could play an important role in the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on SCP, facilitation dialogue, cooperation and partnerships and inspiring action towards SCP patterns.
The Global Outlook on SCP Policies was launched at Stockholm+40, an event marking the 40th anniversary of the UN Conference on the Human Environment, which also led to the establishment of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
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