Beijing Oct 12

BEIJING WORKSHOP ON POVERTY AND SPC

As part of the World Resources Forum conference in Beijing, Oct 21-23, 2012, GRF-SPC organized a workshop on the following topic,

“Balancing poverty alleviation and sustainable consumption and production in Asia and the Pacific – challenges for research and implementation”

For more information: http://www.worldresourcesforum.org/wrf-2012-program

Brief report on 1st Chinese GRF-SPC workshop, October 22, 2012, Beijing

We are pleased to report that the GRF-SCP organised a workshop at the recently held Global Resources Forum in Beijing, exploring the relevance of SCP in Asia, in particular the challenges for policy, research and practice in relation to balancing poverty eradication and Sustainable Consumption and Production.

Speakers included Lewis Akenji  (Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Japan) and Mohan Munashinghe (Munasinghe Institute for Development, Sri Lanka and Sustainable Consumption Institute, UK), who outlined  the global mandate for SCP, its related global challenges and the aims of the GRF-SCP. Heinz Schandl (Social and Economic Sciences Program, Australia) demonstrated how large scale transitions in Asia from agricultural base societies towards industrial base economies have resulted in a rise in material intensity and overall resource use in these regions, despite their associated improvements in material efficiency. In regard to possible solution pathways, the workshop participants discussed the millennium consumption goals and the need for new metrics to measure well-being.

On a more regional scale, Ying Feng (Institute of Scientific and Technical Information, Ministry of Science and Technology, China) described how traditional consumption and production practices in China could give inspiration for a more sustainable production and consumption future. Frans Verspeek (SWITCH Asia, Germany) promoted the support of Small and Medium Enterprises and the importance of bringing them into the global value chain. Amongst others, he suggested the use of product labelling schemes, whose effectiveness was further discussed by Leonie Dendler (Sustainable Consumption Institute, UK and Tyndall Fudan, China). She explained how the effectiveness of product labelling schemes in facilitating more sustainable consumption and production is driven by a dynamic construction of legitimacy between a variety of actors. Patrick Schroeder (China Association for NGO Cooperation, China) expanded on the power dynamics between different actors groups in a Chinese context. In particular, he focussed on the role of civil society and governmental organisations and the related effectiveness of bottom up versus top down policy approaches.

All presentations stressed the importance of taking into account and enhancing our understanding of how social and physical infrastructures and their interactions direct consumption and production, including their differences across geographical scales. We were very pleased to find these results and the overall workshop to be highlighted by the chair of the event’s final plenary session, during which Sustainable Consumption and Production was also announced as one of the four core themes of the 2013 World Resources Forum.

More information on this and future forums can be found on http://wrf12.csp.escience.cn/dct/page/1. The papers and presentations of the workshop will be uploaded on the GRF website, https://grfscp.wordpress.com.

Leonie Dendler

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