IGPN - International Green Purchasing Network



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May 30, 2023

Project Launch: Greening supply and demand: Advancing Eco-Labels and Sustainable Public Procurement for climate and biodiversity protection (Eco-Advance)

The project Eco Advance, funded by the German International Climate Initiative (IKI), aims to increase the use of sustainable public procurement (SPP) and Type-1 Ecolabels as tools to improve climate mitigation, biodiversity, and resource protection, through ambitious ecolabels, improved policy and legal frameworks, increased engagement of the private sector, as well as regional and global exchange. The duration of this project is 4 years from 2022 to 2026 and the project is implemented in 5 Latin American countries (Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico). This project will have a global exchange component including support to the Consumer Information Programme of the One Planet network. By supporting Type-1 ecolabels, the project helps to create incentives for cleaner production focusing on high impact sectors (building and construction, electronics, textiles) by addressing a major barrier to changing consumption and production patterns: the complexity of conveying the environmental impacts of products and services to consumers and public authorities.
Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

UNEP joined forces with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Öko Institut.
-GIZ will be the consortium lead for this project and responsible for programme management, and activities related to sustainable public procurement, strengthening of policy framework and engagement with companies.
-UNEP will have a leading role in activities supporting ecolabelling schemes at the regional level. UNEP will also lead on activities to increase the outreach of the knowledge products created through the project by facilitating exchange with other regions, where work on SPP and ecolabeling is taking place.
-Öko Institut will provide strategic, technical, and methodological advice to GIZ, UNEP and national partners.

Unsustainable consumption and production patterns are at the heart of the triple planetary crisis: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. In recent years, rising incomes and urbanisation in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region, as well as in other regions of the world, have led to an increased demand for goods and services, which is linked to consumption-driven increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, resource depletion and biodiversity loss.

With an average purchasing power equivalent to 15-20% of national budgets (OECD 2020), public procurement can incentivise a shift away from unsustainable production and consumption patterns, when coupled with robust eco-labelling schemes for products and services that comply with stringent sustainability criteria.

This project will offer partners a well-established platform for sharing results and achievements while also ensuring local partners access to a strong global network of support for the future. It will also contribute to raise the visibility of ecolabels in national and regional development agendas.

Learn at one planet network website.

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May 22, 2023

Can regenerative wool make fashion more sustainable?

While building their fledgling fashion brand, environmentally minded Edzard van der Wyck and Michael Wessely confronted a deluge of sustainability claims about different textiles.

"We looked at all types of fibres from cashmere to pineapple skin," says Wessely. But they often found barriers in the way materials were produced. Bamboo, for example, while biodegradable, often goes through intensive chemical manufacturing processes. Pineapple production typically uses large amounts of agrochemicals and is usually grown in monoculture.

They were looking for a fabric with sustainability credentials that stood up to scrutiny, not just in carbon emissions but also in its impact on biodiversity, pollution, recyclability and the communities producing it. They initially suspected the ideal fabric might be found on the more innovative end of the spectrum, exploring materials that were relatively new to fashion.

But in 2018, Van der Wyck and Wessely turned their attention to a much, much older material. They met regenerative sheep farmers who "wanted to bring about radical change" to their industry, Wessely says. Impressed with farmers' convictions and the technical and environmental benefits they claimed their produce offered, they landed on their raw material of choice: regenerative wool. "The real answer came in the form of an ancient material, albeit sourced and treated in a pioneering way," says Wessely.

The regenerative approach seeks to replicate what happens in the wild, where animals roam as they graze to find new sources of food and avoid predators, allowing grasslands to heal

A year later, they established Sheep Inc, which claims to be the world's first "carbon negative" fashion brand. The London-based brand factors farming (including methane, sheep farming's main source of emissions), manufacturing, packaging and transport into its analysis, according to a report from independent certifiers, Carbon Footprint. However, this figure doesn't include home energy emissions from the team's remote working nor other digital emissions, although these would likely be low compared to emissions from farming wool.

Sheep Inc's methods to keep its environmental impact low include using solar-powered knitting machines, sorting clothes in a solar-powered warehouse and a plastic-free supply chain. Customers can also return items to Sheep Inc for mending and repair.

Experts in sustainable fashion have praised the company's efforts. "This is a brand after my own heart: championing regenerative natural fibres, renewable energy, responsible production with a fully traceable supply chain," says independent sustainable fashion consultant Lucianne Tonti. "They are proof of the concept that it is possible to make beautiful clothes with a positive environmental impact."

The fashion industry is responsible for between 8 and 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than aviation and shipping combined.

Some 70% of fashion's emissions come from its supply chains, concentrated in raw material production, processing and preparation. This was why carefully selecting raw material suppliers was so crucial to Sheep Inc's process, says Wessely.

Wool is viewed as somewhat of a wonder-fabric in the fashion industry because it is hardier than most fibres, requires less washing, and is recyclable, Tonti says. "It's strong, elastic and has a waxy coating so it doesn't stain easily, and it's odour resistant." It is also flame-retardant, has anti-bacterial properties, and can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water, she says. When wool returns to soil or water, it biodegrades, unlike petroleum-based fabrics such as polyester. (Read more about fashion's colossal waste problem).

This makes it a strong contender for sustainable clothing that lasts consumers decades. But conventional wool production remains far from climate-friendly; sheep emit methane, which is 28-36 times more potent than CO2 over a 100-year period. Conventional wool farming often uses set stock grazing, where animals sit in the same paddocks for long periods which can lead to desertification, biodiversity loss and soil erosion.

In places like South America, New Zealand and Australia, it is more common for sheep to roam but chemical fertilisers are commonplace and without adaptive management practices, conventional sheep farming can lead to the same overgrazing issues as set stock grazing including water pollution, soil erosion and desertification.

Learn more at BBC Future Planet, 14 April 2023, By: Parisa Hashempour.

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May 15, 2023

Report-Changing Behaviour to Help More People Waste Less Food

Many organisations and others who interact with householders have a role to play in helping people reduce the amount of food they waste – by helping to raise awareness and then helping address the barriers to reducing food waste, whether they are related to the product offering or a result of behaviours, skills and knowledge.

Champions 12.3 has collated this guide to help key actors in the food system to focus on how they can help consumers reduce food waste through behaviour change. In June 2021, the World Resources Institute (WRI) hosted a behaviour change webinar, followed by a workshop that convened leading experts behind some of the most prominent efforts to reduce consumer food waste to share their knowledge and best practices. The output from the workshop has informed the content of this guide (as indicated by “What the experts say” sections throughout), which also incorporates illustrative examples of consumer food waste interventions from around the world.

This document aims to guide actors towards actions they can take to help consumers change behaviours that may lead to food waste arising in households. In doing so, the guide takes into account the fact that multiple actors can influence how consumers deal with food waste. It also deliberately allows the reader to refer to the section that is most relevant to them and the actions they can take to help people reduce food waste. It is designed to allow the reader to dip into relevant sections as well as provide a comprehensive overview of the approaches and interventions that have been shown to reduce food waste.

Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

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May 8, 2023

ASEAN Launches the ASEAN Toolkit on Sustainable Consumption

The ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP) has launched the ASEAN Toolkit on Sustainable Consumption which comprises of tools and teaching materials aiming to enhance the understanding of government officials, consumer associations, and businesses, on the concept and policy implications of sustainable consumption.

Promoting Sustainable Consumption is in line with the ASEAN Economic Blueprint (AEC) 2025, which recognizes the need to build higher consumer confidence including through the promotion of sustainable consumption. This strategic measure has been further elaborated under Goal 3 of the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for Consumer Protection (ASAPCP) 2025 which aims at ensuring higher consumer confidence in the ASEAN Economic Community and cross-border commercial transactions.

The materials are divided into four modules with the following topics:

Ÿ Concepts and Principles and Principles of Sustainable Consumption;
Ÿ Best regional and international practices and approaches to policies that promote sustainable consumption;
Ÿ Tools and instruments used in influencing consumer behavior; and
Ÿ Use of appropriate instruments and tools in selected sectors
Ÿ The materials are also supplemented with advocacy materials such as PowerPoint slides, infographics, and an Audio-Visual Presentation.

Prior to the development of the Toolkit, the ACCP conducted Capacity Building Workshops and Observational Site Visits to Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan on March 2019. The Workshop discussed the gaps and challenges in promoting sustainable consumption and provided the opportunity for AMS to discuss the development of their respective national initiatives to promote sustainable consumption.

In addition, a Regional Forum took place on August 2019 in Manila, the Philippines to discuss ways forward to formulate and implement sustainable consumption policy in ASEAN. In addition to ACCP members, the participants include international experts from countries with advanced sustainable consumption initiatives such as Japan and South Africa. It also includes NGOs, and academicians who are prominent advocates of the sustainable consumption movement. The recommendations and deliberations at the Forum provided the foundation for the development of the Sustainable Consumption Toolkit.

The development of the Toolkit was led by the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines and funded by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) through the project ‘Promotion of Sustainable Consumption in ASEAN’.

Please visit the aseanconsumer.org website to download the Toolkit and the set of advocacy materials.

For more information on ASEAN’s work on consumer protection, please visit the ACCP website: www.aseanconsumer.org.

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April 28, 2023

Report-Solutions from the One Planet network to curb plastic pollution

The present report was developed in collaboration with the stakeholders of the One Planet network (Consumer Information, Lifestyles and Education, Public Procurement and Tourism programmes), a global community of practitioners, policymakers, and experts, including governments, businesses, civil society, academia, and international organisations, joining forces around implementation of Sustainable Development Goal12 (SDG12).

The report provides an overview of solutions and recommendations developed by the One Planet network around:

Reliable sustainability information within existing standards, labels, and claims
Triggers for behaviour change, including nudging strategies and awareness campaigns
Creation of markets for sustainable solutions and concrete pathways for governments to lead by example using sustainable procurement practices
Implementation of circular economy of plastics in the tourism sector, including through direct engagement of businesses towards reduction of plastics pollution.
Additionally, the present report builds on findings from previous reports by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Marine Plastics Project and brings forward solutions to address plastic pollution as assessed in the 2021 report From Pollution to Solution - A global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution and demonstrates of how a multi-stakeholder network can mobilize action to agilely deliver concrete outputs and a practical way to implement requests by Member States.

Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

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April 24, 2023

[FASHION] A sustainable fashion week. Too good to be true?

What do you do if you’re a designer who is trying to be more sustainable but you want to show at fashion week? For Emilie Helmstedt, a Danish designer who took part in last week’s Copenhagen fashion week, the solution for the footwear styled with her dresses came from her team who brought in their old Nike and Adidas trainers. Covering them with ribbons, beads and paint, Helmstedt decided it was better than using new versions, as she has done in the past. It also chimed with the rest of the collection – her finale look which was made from scraps of material accumulated in her studio.

Copenhagen fashion week started in 2006 with relatively low-level fanfare. Then, three years ago, Danish organisers set out a series of sustainability requirements for designers to meet in order to be allowed to show in 2023 which would set them apart from the main fashion weeks – New York, Milan, Paris and London – on the global calendar

Based on the United Nations sustainable development goals, the organisers decided on 18 requirements that would apply to the event itself, as well as to all designers who wanted to participate.

“I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do differently. It was about time to set specific requirements rather than just give guidelines,” says Cecilie Thorsmark, the chief executive officer of Copenhagen fashion week (CPHFW) who outlined these requirements, which include a rule that 50% of a collection must be made using textiles from new generation materials such as alternatives to animal-derived raw materials like leather. Deadstock, recycled or upcycled materials are also encouraged.

Most brands have dropped fur from collections but, here, fur is banned outright and any unsold stock from previous collections cannot be destroyed – the most prevalent technique, burning and slashing items, was employed by brands including Burberry in the past. Instead, brands are to sell to discount outlets such as TK Maxx or enter them into the circular economy. Brands must also ensure, by exercising due diligence and working with suppliers, that chains are free from child labour and factories provide safe and fair working conditions.

Thorsmark, who previously worked for the Global Fashion Agenda, an industry group focused on sustainability, says she took the job in 2018 to challenge both the role and purpose of fashion week.

Implementing the requirements was a risk. CPHFW didn’t want to lose the bigger commercial names such as Ganni that attract international press and buyers. Thirty brands were approached with 28 qualifying three years later. Applications were first reviewed by a show committee made up of industry experts, then reviewed and verified by Ramboll, an external consultancy company.

One brand dropped out of the process halfway through while another was rejected after failing to meet all 18 obligations (Thorsmark wouldn’t reveal which brand it was).

On paper, it’s encouraging news from what is often considered the fifth fashion week. But despite the changes many remain sceptical.

Ciara Barry, policy and campaigns manager at the non-profit Fashion Revolution, is currently mandating for living wage legislation across the fashion sector. She says it is concerning that the requirements don’t even mention fair pay. “There is an inherent hypocrisy with a glamorous fashion show displaying collections which are made in poverty. All players in the fashion industry should call for systemic change – and fashion weeks have a role to play in. this.”

Barry says the omission also highlights the challenges that independent brands face from larger fast-fashion brands. “The nature of fashion’s supply chains make it incredibly difficult for individual brands to ensure living wages on their own,” says Barry. “They all share factories and suppliers.”

Then there are the double standards around offsetting carbon emissions. In order to meet the zero waste requirement, brands sent digital QR codes in place of embossed paper invitations. Single-use plastic was banned, show sets were minimal and all props had to be reused. Meanwhile, members of the press and fashion buyers flew in from around the world to look at even more new clothing that was being produced.

On the ground, the designers themselves were mainly optimistic about the changes. Henrik Vibskov, who has been showing for more than two decades, felt the requirements finally acknowledged the steps he has been trying to implement since 2016. “Everything has a life after its first use,” he said as he described his basement filled with archive pieces. His latest set featuring paper tomato trees is next going to be exhibited in Berlin.

For (di)vision’s co-founders, the siblings Simon and Nanna Wick “creating from what already is” has been their ethos since they founded their streetwear inspired brand in 2018. To them, working with almost exclusively deadstock and upcycling materials is “a no brainer.”

They also source their fabrics from suppliers in Italy, often using “waste material” from giant retailers or design houses. Wick says he managed to trace the fabric used for a faux-fur vest back to a collection from Stella McCartney, while a shirt featuring red wine stains was made from an old table cloth.

It seemed a trickier area to navigate for the more commercially successful Scandi brands such as Stine Goya, Ganni and Rotate. Known for their signature sparkly dresses and accessories, sequins which have devastating environmental consequences continued to appear multiple times. Rotate claims its versions are sustainable as they are recycled. Ganni say it uses 100% recycled polyester sequins on a 100% recycled polyester backing. A spokesperson for Stine Goya said that it uses some recycled polyester versions and its team are looking for more sustainable options.

Charlotte Eskildsen, co-founder of the Danish label The Garment, thinks it’s about phrasing – and that the word sustainable itself is problematic. She prefers the word “responsible”. “Fashion is never going to be sustainable and we know that we are contributing to an industry that is polluting way more than it should,” adds (di)vision’s Wick.

While Oslo and Helsinki fashion weeks have already implemented Copenhagen’s framework, with New York’s fashion week kicking off many were hopeful that the noise generated by CPHFW could spark wider change, or at least conversation. Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, says London fashion week won’t be following suit. “The event hosts a mixture of established and emerging brands and as result of this setting a one-size-fits-all sustainability standard is not feasible without alienating the smaller businesses.” Instead the BFC says it encourages brands to commit to voluntary initiatives such as joining the UN’s Climate Challenge.

Fiona Gooch, a senior policy adviser at the fair trade organisation Transform Trade, says both an EU regulator and a fashion watchdog as proposed in UK parliament is a better option. “The actions of large brands cause poverty wages and unsafe conditions and undermine smaller fashion brands who regularly use the same suppliers.”

Barry adds: “The Copenhagen fashion week requirements are absolutely better than nothing, but all fashion shows should move forward by introducing sustainability standards that advance further – they could really drive meaningful change in doing so.”

Learn more at The Guardian, 11 February 2023 By: Chloe Mac Donnell.

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April 17, 2023

Carbon Mark / I-X Launch

Launched as part of I-X, Imperial College London’s new interdisciplinary AI initiative in London, Carbon Mark aims to develop and incorporate into the world’s portfolio of mitigation resources, a new and significant means of reducing emissions in a world which – in spite of global climate legislation and progress on green energy – has produced more emissions in the last twenty years than in the twenty years before.

Recent advances in AI and Machine Learning has enabled Imperial College London – the project’s lead academic partner – to unprecedentedly, begin to create a mechanism capable of calculating carbon footprints on a product-by-product basis with unprecedented accuracy, and making those calculations freely available to be used globally, so that the world’s combined ‘purchasing power’ can be leveraged to make substantial carbon emission cuts.

By making the calculations freely available for anyone to incorporate in the products, services and applications which they provide, the market economy itself can be utilised to accelerate emission reductions at scale. Incorporated into e-commerce marketplaces and search engines, it could be used by the 1.8 billion people who currently shop online to buy ‘greener’ goods. Public procurement, which spends over $9.5 trillion on goods and services annually, could make highly accurate purchasing decisions regarding emissions, not price alone. The financial sector could accurately see the climate risks associated with their portfolios. As the system evolves in complexity, it could even help governments innovatively implement robustly informed carbon taxation policies. The uses are manifold.

Furthermore, once the mechanism is proven to successfully calculate carbon emissions, the same model could be extended to calculate how ecological products are in terms of, for example, water usage, toxins, packaging and plastic pollution.

The goal now is to build on Imperial College’s breakthrough by bringing together a consortium of internationally prestigious organisations and governing bodies which – by contributing their outstanding expertise and pooling resources – will help bring a global footprinting mechanism to fruition.

“Collectively we can harness this new technology to deliver a unique and potent way to combat climate change which is, of course, the overwhelming long-term threat to our natural world, its rich biodiversity and the global economy.” (Martin Smith, Carbon Mark Founder)

The mechanism can spark a new wave of sustainabilIty-based innovation and technology with substantial opportunities for those companies and organisations who recognise its potential. As the full life-cycle emissions of goods and services are made visible consumers will be able to judge, with unprecedented accuracy, the sustainability of the things they buy, while businesses will have a new means of competing for their market share – not just predominantly by price, but by improving the carbon emissions of the products and services they provide.

Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

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April 10, 2023

10YFP Information note on the global strategy for sustainable consumption and production submitted to BRS Secretariat

Recently, an information document has been submitted for the meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions due to take place in May this year. These MEAs share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes. The purpose of the information document, submitted by the 10YFP Secretariat is to inform Parties to the Conventions of the approved Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production with a view to enhancing cooperation with these conventions. It serves as input to the agenda items on International coordination and cooperation of the COP-16 to the Basel Convention, COP-11 of the Rotterdam Convention and COP-11 of the Stockholm Convention.

Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

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March 29, 2023

Cities use public procurement to advance circular transition

The recently published Circular Cities Declaration (CCD) Report 2022 highlights the great steps cities across Europe are taking to support the transition to a circular economy. Among the identified trends is the increased use of public procurement as a lever to reduce their environmental footprint and enable the take-off of circular solutions and services.
In Europe, public buyers spend 14% of the EU’s GDP, which means that there is a great potential for public authorities to have positive circular, social and environmental impact with their purchases of goods, works and services. The CCD report shows that cities increasingly recognise this potential. With 18 documented actions in the report public procurement is, behind circular infrastructure, the second most represented policy lever, used across many different sectors.
A good example are Haarlem’s (The Netherlands) ambitious circular procurement objectives. The city aims for 50% of its purchases to be circular by 2025, and has a target of 100% by 2030. These targets don’t stand on their own; in its circular economy action plan Haarlem Circulair 2040, the city has identified circular procurement as a key tool for implementing the circular economy and has made its circular objectives but are a central feature of its strategic procurement policy. The policy was derived partly from the Roadmap for Circular Procurement and Commissioning, acknowledging that commissioning plays a major role in achieving circular procurement goals.
Other examples in the report show how cities have been adopting and developing circular economy strategies, setting goals for local purchasing, circularity and socially responsible public procurement for tenders. These strategies are often aligned with international or national frameworks, such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and allow interventions in many different sectors. Torres Vedras (Portugal) has for example implemented circular practices in its purchasing of school meals, while Helsinki (Finland) used circular principles for finding the best technical solution to renovate one of its main streets. Copenhagen (Denmark) is working on textile public procurement to stimulate demand for the output from the city’s own textile recycling efforts.
All these examples show that circular public procurement is about more than just reducing the social and environmental impacts of purchases. It also allows local governments to further stimulate the design, provision and management of more circular goods and services. To further pursue these possibilities, the adoption of supporting regulation at national and European levels, along with the provision of guidance, to local governments is necessary.
To read more about the circular (public procurement) activities of Europe’s cities, download the CCD report here .Throughout 2022, CCD signatories have been submitting individual reports sharing their key activities and interventions in the field of circular economy, and the challenges they have experienced. In total 40 reports were submitted, covering activities from 2021 and 2022. ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability , with support from Ellen MacArthur Foundation, led a comprehensive analysis of these submissions, with the CCD report as a result. The two organisations note that this is the widest ever assessment of circular economy practices across European cities.
Learn more at ICLEI sustainable procurement platform.

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