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What is SCP?

The Global SCP Clearinghouse consolidates knowledge on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) from diverse regions and sectors, connecting stakeholders around a global framework for action to spark collaborations and scale up projects on the ground.

So, what is Sustainable Consumption and Production?

One of the challenges of shifting towards more sustainable modes of consumption and production on a large scale is that the term itself comes loaded with baggage - in terms of regions, cultures, political climate, demographics - to name only a few. 

In 1994, at the Oslo Symposium, SCP was defined as “the use of services and related products, which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations”.

As time has passed, definitions have broadened, narrowed, and shifted along with the movements of societies. 

Whereas SCP may mean different things to different people, certain overarching concepts weave together broad areas of consensus to establish a holistic approach which attempts to transcend regions and sectors of activity.   SCP is about systemic change, decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation and applying a lifecycle thinking approach, taking into account all phases of resource use in order to do more and better with less

Only by paying attention to both sides of the equation - consumption and production - will the type of transformative change that is needed, be possible.

The world is paying attention - SCP and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda

In September 2015 UN members agreed to a new, ambitious sustainable development roadmap for the next 15 years. A list of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with an accompanying 169 targets to help benchmark progress, replaced the eight Millennium Development Goals.


Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) patterns has been recognized as an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is identified as a standalone

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 12)

and as a central component of many of the 17 goals and 169 targets agreed in the agenda. 

In highlighting the cross-cutting nature of SCP, the 2030 Agenda has also made clear the need for robust, coordinated efforts to pool information, expertise and resources to scale up projects on the ground.  

Bringing SCP to you 

This platform attempts to take the broad and sometimes abstract concept of SCP and bring it down to a level where individual stakeholders can take part.  The principle vehicle this platform uses to put faces and actions on the concepts of SCP is by giving stakeholders access to the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP).   

Please take a look at the different sectoral and thematic programmes of the 10YFP, which are multi-stakeholder platforms built for action on the ground, and always looking for new collaborators. 

The 10YFP, and all of the other tools for learning, exchanign and engaging at SCP are only a click away.

For your information - A brief history of SCP

In 1972, the UN Conference the Human Environment stated: “In our time, man’s capability to transform his surroundings, if used wisely, can bring to all peoples the benefit of development and the opportunity to enhance the quality of life. Wrongly or heed- lessly applied, the same power can do incalculable harm to human beings and human environment.”

Since then , a number of important milestones have taken place with regards to SCP, which have shaped the definition    


1972: Limits to Growth
"To achieve this change would mean that the globe’s people establish their status, derive satisfaction, and challenge themselves with goals other than ever- increasing production and ever-accumulating"    
1987: UN World Commission on Environment and Development

“Perceived needs are socially and culturally determined, and sustainable development requires the promotion of values that encourage consumption standards that are within the bounds of the ecologically possible and to which all can reasonably aspire."


1992: UN Conference on Environment and Development
“The major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries…” 

2002: World Summitt on Sustainable Development
"Encourage and promote the development of a framework ... in support of regional and national initiatives to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production"


2003: Launch of the Marrakech Process on SCP
A coalition of willing countries working to promote sustainable consumption and production, especially through policy guidelines and in emerging economies. 


2012: UN Conference on Sustainable Development
After nearly a decade of moving ahead without formal agreement by all UN countries, the Marrakech Process 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) is adopted as one of the few successes of a controversial Rio+20 Summit.

2015: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted
Goal 12 calls to “ensure sustainable consumption and production 




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