Latin American and Caribbean countries invited to join the Environmental Alliance of America
2 March 2021
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The XXII Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean took place on 1-2 February 2021, addressing the pressing environmental issues of the region, opportunities for green recovery, and urgent actions for nature in the next decade to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Ministerial Decision “Sustainable Consumption and Production and circular economy – key drivers for post COVID-19 sustainable recovery” was approved during the Meeting.

The Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean recognize the ever-growing need of cooperation and solidarity to tackle the consequences of the pandemic and that it is of utmost importance to keep pursuing the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular by curbing greenhouse gas emissions, achieving sustainable consumption and production patterns, and promoting sustainable business practices.

The decision also recognized “the good practices in the region including, amongst others, the promotion of life cycle assessments and the initiative for the development of a regional eco-label (Environmental Alliance of America), promoted by Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico – including the recent participation of Ecuador and Paraguay. The members of this initiative invite other countries to join the Alliance''. 

The promotion of a regional ecolabelling scheme such as, the Environmental Alliance of America could bring several advantages in the shift to sustainable consumption and production:

  • It will give relevance to the countries as providers of sustainable products and increase the number of companies that respect sustainable practices
  • It will stimulate the export towards market with high environmental standards, foster competitiveness, and give companies the opportunity to enter new niche markets
  • It will facilitate the communication with consumers

 

The Environmental Alliance of America proposes the creation of an ecolabel and an Environmental Product Declaration system in Latin America.

The Environmental Alliance of America is the first regional initiative to develop a common ecolabeling and environmental declarations system in Latin America and the Caribbean. The ecolabel is voluntary and it allows the identification of products, processes or services that have proven to have environmental characteristics or specifications defined in national standards harmonized among different countries or in specific Product Category Rules.

The initiative was born in 2015, led by Costa Rica, Mexico, and Colombia, who joined efforts to develop rules and standards to ensure the transparency and the credibility of the environmental declarations adopted in the countries. UNEP has contributed to the promotion of the Alliance since 2019, with the support of the ICSAL project (Impulsando el consumo sostenible en América Latina a través de la información al consumidor y diseño de productos) funded by the European Union, and with the Advancing and Measuring Sustainable Consumption and Production for a Low-Carbon Economy in Middle-Income and Newly Industrialized Countries (Advance SCP) project funded by International Climate Initiative (IKI), under the auspices of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

The development of an Ecolabelling Accreditation Program is part of the bigger goal to create synergy among Latin American countries, identify the main opportunities and challenges, bring together key partners to provide a tool that will properly guarantee the integrity of environmental labels in the internal and external markets of Latin America.

From 2016, representatives from Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico have been working to create awareness, build capacity and improve the knowledge in accreditation bodies, standardization bodies, regulators, and certification bodies of their countries in regards to Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), carbon emission, water footprint. Since then, Ecuador and Paraguay have also joined.

At the moment, the Environmental Alliance of America is developing two types of certifications:

  • Sello ambiental de América – Type 1
    A voluntary recognition that allows consumers to identify products, processes or services that meet sustainability criteria defined by countries through harmonized standards.
  • Declaraciones ambientales (DAA) – Type 3
    Environmental declarations which provide the necessary data to analyze the life cycle of a specific product - such as paper or coffee-, based on category rules previously harmonized product between countries.

 

Visit the Environmental Alliance of America website to know more about the initiative.

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