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Main topic: Sustainable consumption and production

Shift to sustainable production and consumption

Maritime and land-based activities in the western Mediterranean, along with the progressively more urbanised coastline, are at the origin of a wide spectrum of pressures affecting marine and coastal ecosystems. These range from high resource consumption (water, energy, food products, raw materials, coastal space) to air and water pollution.

A large part of this pollution (out of which, 80% originates from land-based sources) is caused by inefficient industrial processes and poor waste management.

Given the environmental degradation and climate change, cost-effective opportunities exist for countries to develop eco-efficient, future-proof competitive economies. This means the way in which goods and services are produced, sold and consumed needs to be redesigned with the objective to drive industrial and socioeconomic development towards zero-waste, low-carbon, resource efficient, socially inclusive, green (and blue) circular economies.

However, many challenges still hinder the decisive shift towards  sustainable consumption and production.

These are linked to a number of issues such as SCP legislation/regulatory framework including sustainable procurement (in particular public procurement/ government consumption),  the creation of new markets for sustainable products, transfer of environmentally sound technologies and adjustment of economic and financial instruments to meet the needs of eco-entrepreneurs and investors.

Looking at the consumption side, education and awareness, as well as actions (including incentives) aimed at changing life styles,  together with overall civil society empowerment, are crucial in making the transition towards sustainable consumption and production.

Given the many challenges and actions that could be taken to make the transition – where should the priority lie?  

  • NunoG1962

    There are already a lot of good policies in place. It would really help if there is a more structural focus on enforcing these policies and regulations as well

  • A.Moreno

    The market follows demand. There are relatively few organisations who are really innovative and sustainable by itself. Primarily because innovation or the transition from old to new requires a lot investments. Making the transition to a more eco-friendly economy/ society therefore requires starting at the source: creating a demand for sustainable products and faciltating eco-friendly behavior. eg by making it easier for people to recycle.
    While on the other hand, making eco-unfriendly products and behavior more expensive; either through taxes/ more stringent regulations/ fines. There is also a role for financial institutions that provide business loans to help steer towards more sustainable business initiatives.
    As the article above indicates – national, regional and local governments/municipalities should take the lead and set an example. It is not always a matter of money but also a mindset. There is a lot to be gained here.