From Kim Andrews:
You may have seen recently that GECA introduced my new role of Sustainable Development and Senior Accounts Representative. Bringing the Sustainable Development Goals into the conversation around ecolabelling is an important evolution in the business world and that’s part of my role. I like a challenge! You may ask, why?
On the 25th of September 2015 the UN announced there would be 17 Sustainable Development Goals to pick up where the 8 Millenium Goals left off. The 17 goals with their broader scope are more participatory, meaning that developed nations are assessed as to their fitness level to meet the SDGs by 2030. These goals will aim to create an equitable future for all, especially as we face a future of mitigation and adapting to climate change impacts in every human, environment and economic system. We all now appreciate that everything is connected, and manufacturing and consumption is certainly deeply embedded throughout the countries and cultures of the world.
In the research of Dr Christian Kroll of Bertelsmann Stiftung, entitled ‘Sustainable Development Goals: Are the rich countries ready?‘, Kroll collected statistics from each OECD country and then used the 17 goals as indicators to create country profiles. Each country was ranked for their performance level for each goal to create a snapshot of our current state and level of ‘future fitness’. This new lens provides insight into where weaknesses and strengths lie for each goal. This evidence will direct future policy and project planning.
So how did we score? Australia scored 6.65 out of a possible 10. We came in at 18th position out of 34 OECD countries. It certainly provides a conversation starter as an industrially developed country. Let’s see it as a starting point to move forward.
GECA primarily is concerned with the Sustainable Development Goal 12 – to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Specifically it targets 8 aspects:
- 12.1 Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries
- 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
- 12.3 By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses
- 12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
- 12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
- 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
- 12.7 Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
- 12.8 By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
- 12.a Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production
- 12.b Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
- 12.c Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities
Where does Australia stand for Goal 12? Our ranking for Goal 12 is 28th-34th. Yes, Australia is ranked 28th-34th out of 34 OECD countries. There is obviously much work to be done. Our profile cites statistics on our domestic consumption as 47 tons per person, also generating 647 kilograms of municipal waste per capita, placing us 30th out of 34. That means there is a lot of work to do and educating to be done to be future fit. There is some very good news in that we are doing well in some of the other goals.
At GECA, the Standards we create are relevant to Goal 12 and its 8 targets. With the work of the UN and global groups such as WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) and many others, there is no doubt things are changing at every level. The landscape of manufacturing and international trade is shifting with certification becoming the norm rather than an exception. Large corporations and small companies are certifying their products and services, communicating their transparency and actions to the public to meet government policy and meet trade agreements. Certification is driving our companies into the growing green market.
As GECA is the only Australian GEN (Global Ecolabelling Network) member with the privilege of Tier 1, you can be assured that GECA is known and respected globally. GECA can assist you to gain other international GEN recognised standards to improve your export and project opportunities. GECA Certification can help drive into the exponentially growing construction market expected to be $103 trillion by 2020. The Transparent Market Research reported in January 2015 that the green materials market is expected to reach $234.77 billion by 2019.
The World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket report, produced by Dodge Data & Analytics and United Technologies Corporation, report that the proportion of firms around the world expecting more than 60 per cent of their projects to be green certified is set to double over the next few years as market factors and conditions undergo dramatic shifts. Some 40 per cent of respondents considered client demand to be a “top trigger” for green building in 2015, as compared to 34 per cent in 2008 and 35 per cent in 2012.
Yes, things are changing and the future is looking positive. Get in touch with us at GECA and let’s work together to make sure your company is future fit.