One Planet network
Changing How We Inform
The 2021 Sustainable Market Share Index™ finds that sustainability-marketed products are responsible for a third of the growth in consumer packaged goods (CPGs) from 2015 to 2021, and market share growth continues year over year.
But with thousands of brands talking to consumers at the same time, how can individuals sort through to find reliable information on product sustainability? How do governments know which products to procure for their populations to minimise their carbon footprint?
Hundreds of organisations across the One Planet Network have been working to provide answers to these questions and many more, through years of collaboration, consultation and action. 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 - around the critical role that consumer information plays and will need to play in the move towards a more sustainable, resilient world.
Browse through flagship publications which look at consumer information through the lens of key topics such as climate change, food systems, or biodiversity. Find out how businesses are applying product sustainability guidelines in a way which helps consumers and their bottom line. Take a look at some of the innovative policies which governments are enacting around the world to build more robust, reliable sustainability information for their citizens. All this, along with concrete, actionable tools available publicly, have been gathered together below.
The forthcoming Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production is clear about the importance of Consumer Information, which lies at a crucial connection between between supply and demand, to create real market transparency with regards to how the environmental and social impacts of production is presented to consumers.
Referring to the Consumer Information Programme of the One Planet Network, the strategy notes, "...the Consumer Information programme will support governments, the private sector, workers, civil society organizations and lifecycle experts in their efforts to produce and use reliable information, such as labelling schemes, on the impacts caused over the life cycle of products and services, thereby preventing greenwashing and false green claims. The objective will be to guide consumers (institutions and individuals) towards products and services that effectively meet their needs and that are, throughout their lifecycle, sustainably designed, produced, marketed, (re)used and disposed or recycled".
The strategy also makes clear linkages with some of the high-impact sectors for which accurate, reliable consumer information is so crucial. For example, with regards to food systems, a key priority is "Promoting the availability and affordability of healthy and sustainable diets for all, including through consumer information and market transparency, and working to reduce food waste, including in rapidly urbanizing areas and tourist destinations".
The Global Strategy for SCP demonstrates how key enabling approaches such as consumer information, public procurement or sustainable lifestyles can be leveraged to impact changes across a number of different high-impact sectors and systems. The place of consumer information - which lies at the crossroads of consumption and production and sends signals between the two - is paramount to efforts to move towards a more sustainable world in line with the achievement of SDG 12.
guidance on key areas
The hubs below take a deep dive into some of the critical areas of concern with respect to how consumer information affects what we produce and what we buy. Dozens of success stories show how product lifetime extension strategies can combat planned obsolescence, and how effectively communicating to consumers can make the difference. When we talk about climate change, how can effective consumer information tools make a difference in high-impact sectors such as the built environment, food systems or tourism? Or if we look biodiversity loss, to consider the communication strategies which exist to support awareness-raising about the devastating effects of unsustainable consumption. Finally, is there a common ground for businesses, to develop effective product sustainability information to consumers? The product sustainability guidelines have been road-tested across multiple businesses, and the results might surprise you.
Country best practices
Policies which contain voluntary, economic, or regularly instruments on the provision of responsible consumer information are critical. Look at how France is better informing consumers in a push towards a more circular economy. Or find out more about a move towards standardized, trustworthy ecolables in Côte d'Ivoire. In Germany, huge efforts are underway to assist developing economies bring to market ecolablels as well. These Country Profiles and more can provide an excellent snapshot.
Looking for more hard data?
If you are interested in the most accurate picture of material footprint at the national level, a powerful tool has been developed to provide just that. The Sustainable Consumption and Production Hotspot Analysis Tool (SCP-HAT) provides different modules which zoom in on the hotspot areas for intervention within a country as it pertains to SCP. Detailed profiles provide information on land use, water use, energy use, material use and much more. These indicators have clear links with the consumption patterns of individuals, all of which are affected by the consumer information focus areas discussed on this page. Take a look at how your country is performing!
Toolbox for changing how we inform
Changing how we inform means making available to businesses and governments the concrete tools which they can use to make a difference. The One Planet Network works across regions and high-impact sectors to bring together just such solutions. A Sustainability Map from the International Trade Centre means businesses providing transparency to businesses committed to sustainability. The Consumer Goods Forum Smart Label gives trustworthy, standardized information to consumers. Or, how about the Sustainability Consortiums' Sustainability Snapshot, which helps users identify sustainability issues in the products they are interested in.
These concrete tools and many more are at your disposal, and the One Planet Network is constantly looking for new and better knowledge to provide to a growing movement of individuals and organistaions interested in providng reliable sustianability information.
Did you miss it?
The first annual One Planet Forum took place from May 31 - June 1, 2022 in Stockholm, Sweden and virtually. Gathering more than 1000 participants online and in-person, the forum was a chance to accelerate and inspire action for sustainable consumption and production, drawing from key enablers for change, including consumer information.
The Changing How We Inform session drew inspiring examples from an inspiring panel, focusing on the role consumer information can play in enabling the required transformations towards SCP. Speakers highlighted current challenges, and discussed key solutions to increase the effectiveness of consumer information and how to upscale the best available tools to drive more substantial changes.
See the full discussion below:
Over the past several years, the One Planet Network has built up a substantial network of experts and organisations from around the world, working across different themes related to Consumer Information.
This network is at the heart of the tools and solutions cited on this page. Moving forward, the overarching objective of the Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production is to use this momentum to take these actions to a new level. The enabling role of Consumer Information is clear, and it is key. These crucial, concrete tools to enable businesses and governments to provide reliable, transparent information must be disseminated and applied across the high impact systems and sectors where they are most needed.
The Consumer Information programme of the One Planet Network plays a key role in such match-making. The community is growing, and several dedicated working groups are producing the concrete guidance and tools which stakeholders working on food systems, tourism, the built environment and beyond, can take advantage of.
To find the tools you need, or to find out how you can contribute to this growing movement, the Consumer Information programme is a great place to start.