As Programme Partners of the World Resources Forum 2021, the International Resource Panel and One Planet Network will organise and host the online workshop “The Value-Chain Approach: a tool for prioritized action on sustainable consumption and production”, as part of the circular economy conference track. In this short article, the workshop organisers tell us more about the context behind the workshop, what the workshop will be about and why you should attend it.



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This workshop will dive into a recently created framework named “Value-Chain Approach”. As an introductory question, how did this framework come into place?

As a result of the fourth UNEA session in 2019, the United Nations Environment Assembly adopted a resolution (UNEP/EA.4/Res.1) requesting that the One Planet Network and the International Resource Panel (IRP) form a Task Group to catalyse science-based policy action on sustainable consumption and production (SCP). In response to this resolution, the IRP and One Planet Network formed the Task Group comprising experts on natural resource use from the IRP, and practitioners on SCP from across the One Planet Network.

With the overarching goal of  ‘translating’ the technical information in IRP reports into actionable, science-based recommendations on SCP for governments and businesses, the Task Group developed a ‘Value-Chain Approach’ and applied it to three critical sectors: construction, food and textiles.The report entitled Catalysing science-based policy action on Sustainable Consumption and Production: The value-chain approach & its application to food, construction and textiles explains the ‘value-chain approach’ methodology and shares findings from the three sectoral analyses.

In a nutshell, what is the Value-Chain Approach all about?

The Value-Chain Approach provides a practical interface between the science and data on natural resource use and environmental impacts, and the actions stakeholders can take towards SCP and Agenda 2030. It is a methodology for catalysing science-based policy action on sustainable consumption and production which identifies key points of intervention within economic systems to reduce natural resource use and environmental impacts through a common agenda for action.

By applying a systems lens, the socio-economic drivers and barriers that influence value chain operations of different sectors are identified, taking into account the complex feedback loops influencing the operations and behaviours of actors along the value chain. This approach shows that the key points of intervention are often not the same as where natural resource use and environmental impacts take place, making systems analysis essential.

Building on the findings presented in the report mentioned above, in collaboration with various partners, the One Planet network Secretariat held two series of consultations focusing on the food and construction value chains to improve the understanding of what initiatives and solutions currently exist at different stages of these value chains and to define gaps, opportunities, interlinkages, and trade-offs as the basis for the collaborative development of prioritised objectives for SCP.

Going more into the details of the WRF2021 workshop – what goals does it have and what stakeholders will be engaged? 

The purpose of this workshop is to present the value-chain approach as an analytical tool to catalyse science-based policy action on sustainable consumption and production  (SDG12) and to illustrate its potential through a panel discussion between policy makers, civil society and business representatives. After demonstrating how this framework enables evidence-based prioritization of action on SDG12, we will discuss key elements required to strengthen the science-policy interface, thanks to the lessons learnt through the application of the value-chain approach in the high-impact sectors of food and construction. We will engage public and private actors working on sustainable consumption and production, and value chain actors working in particular on food and construction. Therefore, this workshop will be of particular interest for stakeholders working across food and construction value chains.

What excites you about being a program partner of WRF2021?

The World Resources Forum 2021 aims at providing the grounds for stakeholders from policy, science, industry and civil society to come together and engage in an open and inspiring dialogue to discuss the most pressing challenges and co-create solutions for a sustainable management and use of natural resources. It therefore offers us an exciting opportunity to discuss in an inspiring environment how sustainable consumption and production can improve resource efficiency.

Finally, let’s conclude with a call for action. What message would you like to send through your work on the value-chain approach and during the workshop itself?

The science is crystal clear: human activities are putting extreme pressure on the planet. Our societies and economies are driving the three planetary crises the world is now facing: climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. The common thread that runs through these global crises, which are jeopardizing every country’s prospects for sustainable development, is unsustainable production and consumption patterns.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge to humankind, revealing the weaknesses of many aspects of our current economic and development models. The pandemic has clearly highlighted the need to re-shape policies, business practices and consumer choices that are driving production and consumption patterns around the world (SDG 12). Implementing sustainable, integrated, fair and inclusive policies for recovery, and re-directing investments, have become a priority to create more resilient economies which ensure human well-being and preserve the natural environment upon which we all depend.

Science-based solutions and policy instruments are required at all levels to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and for building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development. Stakeholders, whether governments or businesses, need comprehensive and tailored information to help identify priorities, implement strategies, and monitor impacts around the sustainable management of natural resources.

The Value-Chain Approach identifies where the greatest opportunities for a shift to sustainable consumption and production exist, shapes corresponding actions by building on current knowledge and available data, and engages the relevant actors. This is exactly how we aim to further contribute through our workshop at WRF2021.

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The World Resources Forum 2021 (WRF2021), under the theme of “A Green Deal for Sustainable Resources” will take place on October 12-14 in an innovative hybrid format: three days of online sessions and two small scale-events in Accra (Ghana) and Zürich (Switzerland). All the workshops, such as the one organised by the International Resource Panel and the One Planet Network, together with scientific sessions and plenary sessions will take place online, in a dedicated virtual event platform. WRF2021 is co-hosted by the Ghanaian Ministry for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN/BAFU).

Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of this exciting session and learn from all the participants.

Register now for WRF2021!