UNEP is organising a webinar on 18th May "The Business Case for Eco-Innovation: Future-Proofing SMEs through Sustainable Business Models".
30 April 2021

DATE: 18 May 2021 

TIME: 3:00 - 4 :00 p.m. CEST

REGISTER HERE

Background

Value chains, like nature, exist in complex, interlinked ecosystems. Small changes in one area can lead to amplified changes elsewhere, so the operations of one business can reverberate along their entire value chain. Therefore, understanding the entire value chain system and collaborating with the key stakeholders in it can not only reduce environmental and social impacts but also make a company more competitive. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other real economy actors play a key role in spurring a more resilient recovery, as well as in ‘future proofing’ both their own livelihoods. The vast majority of businesses in both developed and developing countries are SMEs, and given their strong roots in local communities, SMEs can be influential agents of change and innovation.  SMEs are also engines of economic growth and social development; it is therefore crucial that they be empowered to actively contribute to the transition towards sustainability.

An approach increasingly embraced by companies to foster sustainability in its three dimensions is circularity. Circularity requires companies to consider the impact of their operations as well as their products to ensure that resources remain at their highest value while following the overall guiding principle of ‘’Reduce by design’’, and value retention loops (https://www.unep.org/circularity). This also ensures that companies use resources at peak efficiency, save money through agile product design and operations, and stand out for their innovation in a crowded market.

UNEP’s eco-innovation approach (http://unep.ecoinnovation.org/) guides SMEs in incorporating circularity, a value chain-focused approach, and resilience into every aspect of business strategy and underlying business models, and translating this into changes to operations, products, and processes to reduce the environmental and social impact of human activity. This results in an agile, reactive, and competitive company. It is these types of companies that are more likely to weather supply chain shutdowns and adapt to environmental, social and economic crises. Contrary to being once-in-a-lifetime events, supply chain shutdowns that last a month or more occur nearly every four years (McKinsey) on average due to environmental crises (such as flooding, hurricanes), strikes, and financial crises. In 2020, UNEP assessed the effectiveness of eco-innovation in helping SMEs become more resilient to short-term and long-term shocks, which formed the basis of the update of the Business Case for Eco-innovation publication.

 

Which Industries Are Leading Sustainable Innovation in 2020? | TECHNIA

Join this webinar to learn about

  • How eco-innovation helps companies to transition towards circularity and become more resilient – hear lessons learned from a recent assessment on the implementation of eco-innovation, and experiences from technical intermediaries and SMEs who are applying UNEP’s eco-innovation approach;
  • What we need from governments, intergovernmental organisations, and the private sector to encourage long-term scaling up of eco-innovation and the adoption of circularity; and
  • How eco-innovative companies are not only profitable, but build greater resilience, loyalty, and competitiveness

Speakers

Our panel of speakers represent different perspectives in the conversation on eco-innovation, resilience, and SMEs.

  • Bettina Heller, Programme Officer, UNEP
  • Edward Clarence- Smith, Senior Advisor on Circular Economy (moderator)
  • Natalia Osorio, CEO, Naturesse Colombia
  • Sarah Mohan, Associate Programme Officer, International Trade Centre (ITC)
  • Steven Stone, Chief, Resources and Markets Branch, UNEP
  • Zubeida Zwavel, Executive Board Director, Centre for African Resource Efficiency and Sustainability (CARES), South Africa

Agenda

  • Opening remarks, welcome and introduction
    • Steven Stone, Chief, Resources and Markets Branch, UNEP
  • Background and introduction of updated publication, with a focus on resilience  
    • Bettina Heller Programme Officer, UNEP
  • Panel discussion featuring:
    • Edward Clarence-Smith, Senior Advisor on Circular Economy (moderator)
    • Natalia Osorio, CEO, Naturesse Colombia
    • Sarah Mohan, Programme Officer, SME Competitiveness Survey, ITC
    • Steven Stone, Chief, Resources and Markets Branch, UNEP
    • Zubeida Zwavel, Executive Board Director, Centre for African Resource Efficiency and Sustainability (CARES), South Africa
  • Questions from the audience, conclusion
    • Edward Clarence-Smith, Senior Advisor on Circular Economy, and Bettina Heller, Programme Officer, UNEP

 

Important Note: The online meeting for this webinar will be Cisco Webex Events, please download the application here on your desktop or mobile beforehand.

For more information about the UNEP eco-Innovation approach, please visit: http://unep.ecoinnovation.org/ 

Contact

For more information about this webinar, please contact:

Webinar
Circularity, Ecosystems, Value chain