World’s Top Sustainability Experts Rethink Consumption

Some of the world’s top sustainability experts met recently to rethink consumption and production patterns and ways of accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Rethink Consumption_UNEP

Copyright: UNEP


An accelerated shift to sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns is indispensable for re-shaping our economies and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), concluded the panel of high-level experts, including heads of UN agencies, Government Ministers and executives of prominent NGOs and businesses.

The meeting was convened by the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP) and the World Economic Forum to discuss the role of SCP in achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Opening the meeting, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Achim Steiner said that the notion of SCP “is woven through the 2030 Agenda” on Sustainable Development and its goals. “The 10YFP and initiatives around SCP are encapsulating drivers which are at the core of re designing our economies,” he said.

He later remarked that by adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community accepted their complexity, and that SCP is a way to make the necessary changes to reach the Goals.

Representatives of the private sector, including Chief Sustainability Officers of IKEA, Unilever and TOTAL S.A. highlighted the value of public-private partnerships to achieving SCP and the need for discontinuous, system-level changes which can be spurred through the 10YFP and the multi stakeholder partnerships that it can forge.

Jeff Seabright, Chief Sustainability Officer of Unilever, pointed to the fact that companies cannot resolve sustainability issues alone and that strong partnerships are required for the shift to SCP. Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer for IKEA demonstrated how incorporating sustainability into the company’s corporate strategy helped to generate significant growth in sales.

President of the Board of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Yolanda Kakabadse called for a new paradigm of production systems that serve the underprivileged.

The experts agreed that a change in consumer habits should be promoted by, among others accurate information on the sustainability of products.

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