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PROJECTS » Sustainable Consumption and Production

Sustainable Consumption and Production

It is clear that current consumption and production trends are the main causes of environmental degradation of the Mediterranean region. This is the reason why shifting to sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and thus decoupling development from environmental degradation and resource depletion has became an urgent need.

SCP constitutes a turning point in the way sustainable development is tackled as it doesn’t only address the question of what and where pollutant emissions and environmental degradation take place but also why those are generated. The SCP approach involves analyzing the way countries produce and consume goods and services, identifying how and why those patterns of production and consumption contribute to the environmental degradation and the generation of environmental and health risks due to chemical pollution and implementing technical, policy, market, economic and information mechanisms through which shifting to SCP.

Implementing SCP involves a range of actions such as cleaner production, energy efficiency, sound chemical management, sustainable public procurement, eco-labelling, sustainable lifestyles, education for sustainable consumption, etc.

One of the projects undertaken by the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) to aid the implementation of sustainable consumption and production is the development of National Action Plans, the first of which was drawn up by the Government of Croatia, with the collaboration of the MAP Coordination Office (MEDU) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Europe.

This work has emphasised various sectors and instruments that can contribute to separating the country’s economic growth from environmental degradation, such as ecotourism, organic farming, cleaner production processes, eco-labels, corporate social responsibility, green public procurement and waste reduction, amongst others. This process involves the creation of working groups that gather representatives from ministries (environment, economy, industry, tourism, agriculture, fisheries, health, and transport), and business and civil society organisations.

Discussion and consultation with the various national and international actors in the project have enabled a document to be drawn up that analyses the context of international policies in this sphere, along with key sectors of society where action can be taken to make the transition to more sustainable consumption and production a reality; and an action plan.

Another SCP/RAC project on sustainable consumption and production is the fostering of sustainable public procurement, understood as a process in which public authorities meet their need for goods, works and services efficiently whilst reaping economic, social and environmental benefits. The Centre organises work sessions and capacity-building workshops to publicise the benefits to be gained and to foster their inclusion in the public policies of Mediterranean organisations.

The SCP/RAC wishes to go further still and intends to develop National Action Plans for sustainable public procurement, and their subsequent implementation. Likewise, it aims to continue in its commitment to awareness raising and dissemination, and to creating experience exchange networks that help an increasing number of organisations in the region to include sustainability criteria in the procurement of goods, works and services.

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