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EVENT: Consumer Information Programme workshop at the Sustainable Consumption Week in Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Published on September 18, 2021

During this Consumer Information Programme workshop held on the 14 September 2021 participants discussed opportunities and solutions to drive sustainable consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Melting Andean glaciers, threat of disappearance of large coastal cities, reduced agricultural productivity, coral reef degradation, accelerated spread of diseases and biodiversity loss. These are just a few of the effects of climate change on the environment and on the lives of people in Latin America and the Caribbean.

With an estimated population of over 652 million people and home to major population centres, such as São Paulo, Mexico City, Buenos Aires and many others, Latin America plays a significant role in global economy, and its large consumer market is of great importance for companies that seek to leverage the sale of their products and services.

Little by little these consumers are becoming aware that their consumption choices directly affect the environment and, consequently, their own lives. However, much must and can still be done to address challenges and explore opportunities regarding sustainable consumer information in the region.

Thinking about this, the One Planet network (10YFP) Consumer Information Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Akatu Institute co-hosted a Workshop on Consumer Information for Sustainable Consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

On the second day of the Sustainable Consumption Week in LAC, this workshop particularly focused on three topics:

·         the improvement of consumer information in Latin America and the Caribbean;

·         the expansion of the regional eco-label Allianza Ambiental de América; and

·         the achievement of consumer behaviour changes in the region.

The event was held in Spanish, but Portuguese and English translation were provided. In this manner, a large audience of around one hundred participants from several countries of the region were able to exchange and collaborate on these topics.

The importance of the Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information

The beginning of the discussion revolved around the support of the Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information in the work of governments, businesses and civil society organizations. The Guidelines not only assists governments in the development of principles, codes, and regulations to target false advertising, but it also helps businesses and their marketing teams to create messages that will guide consumers towards more sustainable products. Furthermore, the Guidelines are also useful for the general population, as it helps them identify and read sustainability information.

Watch the Guidelines video to learn about the ten principles!

The need to strengthen environmental education and cooperation between actors

Moreover, the need to educate consumers was very much debated and reiterated throughout the session. Whether to improve the delivery of credible consumer information, or to effectively implement an eco-label on the regional level, or to promote behaviour change for all social classes, participants agreed that awareness raising and cooperation between actors was key to achieve such targets.

Social inequality is an important factor to be considered

Particularities and inequalities of this complex region must be taken into account by governments, businesses, and civil society organisations when developing policies, and in internal corporate changes, or in social campaigns. Much work lies ahead for all actors in terms of projects and further cooperation. Nevertheless, the prospects to advance sustainable consumption and production practices in the region are promising. 

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