On 10 October 2019, UNU-IAS, together with Sophia University and the Global Environment Outreach Centre (GEOC), co-organised a symposium titled “Sustainable Consumption & Production: Transforming our Future through Ethical Consumption” at Sophia University.
In opening remarks, Tsunao Watanabe (Senior Programme Coordinator, UNU-IAS) underlined the need for multidisciplinary changes in behaviour towards more sustainable consumption and production. The amount of material consumption has been steadily increasing, as reported in the Report of the Secretary-General on SDG Progress 2019.
Naomi Inoue (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Sophia University) outlined the critical state of climate change, with impacts such as the extinction of species and deterioration of both water quality and forest conditions. He stressed the need to protect ecosystems, and noted that consumption and economic activities should be shifted to a more sustainable direction to support their recovery.
Suzuki Motoyuki (Representative Director, Japan Association for UNEP) introduced UNEP’s activities including the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP), as well as the process to formulate the SDGs. He pointed out that to contribute towards more sustainable consumption and production systems, each of us should be aware of the lifecycles of objects and avoid purchasing unnecessary items.
Mariko Yoneyama (Consumer Education Promotion Division, Consumer Affairs Agency, Japan) explained outreach efforts aimed at establishing consumer communities. Referring to the example of a project to reduce food loss, she emphasised that constructing partnerships between various stakeholders such as individuals, business operators, and authorities, and utilising local resources can promote ethical consumption.
Sueyoshi Rika (Representative Director of Ethical Association, Japan) underscored that individuals should think how they could contribute to realising a more sustainable society, drawing on specific examples from educational fields for both adults and children. Such thinking should start with their topics of interest, and build up from small improvements, to become a driving force for transforming society.
A panel discussion focused on the importance of communication, encouraging the private sector to conduct sustainable business, enacting laws on information disclosure, and partnerships between various stakeholders.
In closing remarks, Hoshino Tomoko (GEOC) re-emphasised the significance of building up partnerships between concerned parties to achieve sustainable consumption and production.