As part of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, a side event was held to discuss the availability of consumer information, and its impact on sustainable consumption and production (proposed goal 12 of the sustainable development goals). Beginning the meeting, the Vice-President of ECOSOC gave a statement on the launch of the Consumer Information Programme, which provides accurate information about the sustainability of various goods and services and helps to guide consumers towards more sustainable choices. By 2030, the global population of middle class consumers will increase by 2-3 billion people, putting more stress on the environment and natural resources, and making it vital for the world to consume more efficiently with less of an impact.
Following, H.E. Mr. Thoms stated how sustainable consumption and production encompass all dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social, and environment), and that it’s important to inform consumers about sustainable consumption and production so they can direct their purchasing power towards more sustainable goods and services. Furthermore, Mr. Bastaman from Indonesia added that information about sustainable consumption and production is relatively new in developing countries, and that both the Indonesian government and business sectors are striving to provide more information to consumers.
Next, Dr. Jaeckel, Mr. Wardojo, and Mr. MacMullan gave presentations on the role of transparency and accountability for consumer information in achieving sustainable consumption and production. They highlighted that providing consumers with accurate and accountable information is a multi stakeholder task, which includes governments, NGOs, inter-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Consumers are mainly interested in a product’s cost, convenience, and if the product meets the consumer’s needs. However, ethical and moral questions of sustainability are becoming part of the equation. In order to raise sustainability on the consumer’s agenda, information about how the product is made must be provided in a clear and simple way, in order toencourage sustainable patterns of consumption.
Meeting Title: Consumer Information Programme Under the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns
Speakers: H.E. Mr. Vladimi Drobnjak, Vice President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Permanent Representative of Crotia; H.E. Mr. Heiko Thoms, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany; Mr. Henry Bastaman, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment, Indonesia; Dr. Ulf D. Jaeckel, Head of Sustainable Consumer Production, Product-related Environmental Protection, Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany; Mr. Noer Adi Wardojo, Ministry of Environment, Indonesia; Mr. Justin MacMullan, Head of Advocacy, Consumer International
Date: 1 July 2014
Location: ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations HQ, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan