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One Planet Network

SCP and Climate Change

The science is clear: unsustainable consumption and production is the underlying cause for our planetary crises and the economic sectors generating those impacts (IPCC IPBES, International Resource Panel).

 

As the world focuses on the COP27 Climate Conference negotiations, the One Planet Network too takes a closer took at how changing how we produce and consume is central to tackling major international agendas like the fight against climate change.

 

If we scratch the surface of climate change discussions, we quickly arrive at a place where the links with sustainable consumption and production and a circular economy because starkly clear. For example, it is estimated (under an ambitious scenario) that applying circular economy strategies in just five key areas (cement, aluminium, steel, plastics, and food) can eliminate almost half of the emissions from the production of goods – 9.3 billion tonnes of CO2e in 2050 – equivalent to cutting current emissions from all transport to zero. 

The One Planet Network is working to support the operational integration of sustainable consumption and production into the implementation of relevant multilateral environment agreements to address the underlying causes of climate crisis. 

The Paris Agreement from 2015 recognized that sustainable consumption and production patterns play an important role in addressing climate change. Some of the dots like this have been put in place, and the One Planet Network has been working to connect them to one another. How can the Network support countries in intergovernemental processes to demonstrate leadership and promote the integration of SCP in climate talks at the highest level? What kinds of strategic partnerships and tools are out there, or need to be developed, to facilitate the uptake of core SCP principles in the decisions being made around climate change? 

On this page you will find a carefully curated selection of the concrete tools and solutions which have been developed - across the One Planet Network and beyond - which are helping to integrate sustainable consumption and production into the conversations and into the actions related to climate change. 

The recently adopted Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production places a huge amount of importance on mainstreaming SCP into other international agendas such as climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Based on the latest available scientific evidence, the strategy provides a guiding framework for meaningful action to connect these dots through changing production and consumption patterns. 

These issues are so important that the Strategy has dedicated an entire pillar to making sure that the role of SCP is made more prominent across each of these agendas. In the case of climate change, this means close collaboration with the  UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to highlight the strong linkages between SDG 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production and SDG 13 on Climate Change. 

The Strategy details the types of priority actions which need to be prioritized in order to fill the 'implementation gap' that stands between the climate objectives set by the international community and their actual realisation. The Paris Agreement in 2015 recognized the importance of SCP in achieving major climate objectives, and the Global SCP Strategy articulates what concretely what that means. 

It is important to build and strengthen institutional cooperation and political support to mainstream sustainable consumption and production patterns and life cycle approaches into the decisions documents from Parties of the related agreements and conventions. This means engaging the Secretariats of the relevnt Multilateral Environmental Conventions such as the UNFCCC in order to support a coherent integration of SCP into national plans and strategies. 

The Strategy also dives into the importance of strengthening institutional and technological capacities for the implementation of SCP strategies and measures in countries, by leveraging the UN Development System as well as the expertise and existing tools of the One Planet Network. 

The value-chain approach of the One Planet Network is also called upon, in order to facilitate the uptake of enabling approaches and targeted collaboration across high-impact sectors to assess environmental and social impacts along the whole value chain. 

 

 

Spotlight efforts across the Network

Climate change touches all aspects of life, and so it comes as no surprise that many of the ongoing efforts of the One Planet Network touch on climate change. The One Planet Network has produced a number of flagship initiatives, resources, and tools dealing with climate change which embed core principles of SCP like material efficiency, circularity and life cycle into the discussion.

Across the high-impact sectors and systems which the Global Strategy for SCP focuses on, we see the Sustainable Tourism Programme with massive efforts like the Glasgow Declaration bringing hundreds of companies on board. The Global Tourism Plastics Initiatives also has it's role to play in reducing emissions across the value chain. Regarding the built environment, the Sustainable Buildings and Construction Programme has done what has been need for some time now: Establish the State of Play of the Circular Built Environment, to find out how this massive sector can adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. And the Sustainable Food Systems Programme continues to be a leading voice in the follow up to the UN Food Systems Summit, with plans to help countries to concretely implement their National Pathways to more sustainable food systems. The climate question looms large, and the programme has prepared a set of key policy advocacy messages to drive through the same message across different fora. 

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Photo by Steven Ungermann on Unsplash

Glasgow Declaration: Climate Action in Tourism

The Glasgow Declaration is a catalyst for increased urgency about the need to accelerate climate action in tourism and to secure strong actions and commitment to support the global goals to halve emissions over the next decade and reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050.

Signatories commit to deliver along 5 pathways: Measure, Decarbonise, Regenerate, Collaborate, Finance

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

State of play for the circular built environment

The Sustainable Buildings and Construction programme has published regional reports on the state of play for circular built environment in Africa, Asia, Europe, Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and Oceania. In addition to regional outlooks, a global report has been produced to summarise and compare the state of play regarding circularity in different regions. 

A crucial role of the reports is not only to provide a benchmark but also recommendations on how to move forward towards a sustainable and circular built environment which mitigates emissions and adapts to climate change challenges. 

guidance on key areas

As we have seen, climate change is an issue which cuts across the different focus areas of the One Planet Network. The multi-stakeholder nature of the One Planet Network has fueled collaboration, embedding an SCP lens onto important discussions around climate change. The Sustainable Food Systems, Sustainable Buildings and Construction, and Sustainable Tourism Programmes came together to develop a pioneering publication on how consumer information tools can faciliate low-carbon choices across those sectors (There are even some creative infographics on Food, Buildings and Tourism).   The Food Systems programme has also developed a comprehensive and coherent set of policy avocacy messages around six key areas of debate. Climate change features prominently. The Tourism sector has also brought in a gender perspective, looking at the nexus between tourism, gender and resource efficiency to mitigate climate change.  WWF and UNEP have teamed up to look at how Nationally Determined Contributions can be enhanced for sustainble food systems. UNEP has also produced an interesting publication on nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation, including how these critical measures can be financed. UNEP and UNDP have also produced a key document linking SCP to a 1.5 degree world, through a more circular economy.

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The report defines the climate change mitigation challenge for the tourism, buildings and food sectors within the framework...

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As a multi-stakeholder platform that aims to accelerate the shift to sustainable food systems in pursuit of the mandate of...

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Authors: UNEP and IUCN This report will assess the current state of knowledge on the size of the contribution that...

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This fact sheet developed by UNEP and Equality in Tourism will help you to understand the gender dimensions of climate change...

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The expectation is that this paper contributes to reshaping the newly revised NDCs on the 5-year mark of the Paris Accord, by...

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This jointly developed guidance note sets out a range of technical resources and analytical tools that can be offered to...

In the countries

At the end of the day, successfully combatting and mitigating the most serious effects of climate change will depend on what happens at the national level. Since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, 194 parties have joined this legally binding international treaty. The primary directive of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) and its One Planet Network, is to assist countries (both in the developed and developing world) on their path to more sustainable means of production and consumption. This path is inextricably linked to the measures which countries take, and the commitments they make, with regards to climate change. 

The One Planet Network has a series of Country Profiles which dive into the policies, tools, organisations and expertise at the country level, not limited to, but certainly encompassing actions bringing SCP and climate change concerns together. To go even further, it is necessary to rely on the most up to date scientific data which can point to trends and provide avenues towards the most impactful sectors and areas on which a country might focus. The SCP Hotspot Analysis Tool (SCP-HAT) does just that, providing modules which zoom in on the hotspot areas for intervention within a country as it pertains to SCP.  The tool provides detailed information at the country level on land use, water use, energy use, material and much more, all of which are intimately linked to climate change as well. Specifically on the commitments made by countries following the Paris Agreement, the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) tracks latest developments and provides updates using a rigorous scientific methodology. 

These tools and others are key in providing accurate, reliable assessments based on the latest data, which can be used to inform crucial policy decisions moving forward.

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Concrete tools and solutions

The guidance documents and approaches above are a crucial step for setting baselines, providing constructive frameworks for action, and advocating for certain changes vis-a-vis SCP and climate change. It is then necessary, however, to apply these principles and directives through the use of concrete tools. Of course, the tools and solutions we find across the One Planet Network are only a small slice of what is available. And yet we hope that by curating a small number of concrete, ready to use tools which link our consumption and production patterns to climate change, this opens the door to further reflection and changes in mindset which can have signficant knock-on effects.

How about an app which combines the most effective personal actions an individual can have to combat climate change? Or another which helps you invest financially, in your future and that of the planet? The Coffee Barometer looks at a specific commodity, and how the impacts of climate change are shaping the lives of small producers. 

Other tools harness the power of connectivity that the internet has brought us, like Brightly.eco, a community platform offering advice, news an access to climate-friendly products. Ecosia goes even further, touting itself as a 'sustainable search engine'. 

These tools provide a snapshot, particularly from the consumption side, of how integrating SCP into our lives has real effects on huge international concerns such as climate change. We should keep in mind, however, that there are two sides to the SCP coin, and as the groundbreaking work of the One Planet Network on value chains laid out, the give and take between consumption, production and those actors in the middle is hugely important. SCP is central to reducing the impacts of climate change, but only a holistic view which takes in all facets of SCP including socioeconomic, gender and cultural concerns, will take actions to a real tipping point. The tools on this page point to the steps the One Planet Network is taking in that direction. 

 

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The mission of the platform is to "empower conscious consumers around the world". It highlights news about zero-waste...

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This app is designed to tackle climate change through an adoption of an individual holistic strategy. This is not just for...

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This resources supports the shift to sustainable consumption and production by contributing towards environmental innovation...

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This search engine aims to fight climate change through reforestation.

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While the Covid-19 pandemic has delivered the biggest and broadest value chain shockin recent history, it is only the latest...

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The report proposes globally unified per capita targets for the carbon footprint from household consumption for the years...

Did you miss it?

The One Planet Network had a lot going on at the COP 27 (you can read about it here). One of the events, entitled "Beyond decarbonization: Tackling the triple planetary crisis through systemic resource efficiency and circular economy", featured Ministers and leading scientific experts from across a range of domains, from the IPCC to the International Resource Panel. This was a pioneering event which brought many of these actors together to discuss for the first time the concrete links between global resource use and climate change. The event was moderated by the Co-Chair of the 10YFP/One Planet Network Board, H.E. Giovanna Valverde of Costa Rica. 

See all of the discussions below: