European Topic Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production
Topic Centre of European Environment Agency
Friday, 04 December 2009
2009 Eionet Workshop on Sustainable Consumption and Production - 24 - 25 September 2009, Fribourg, Switzerland
This news announcement contains a brief summary and pictures from the workshop on Sustainable Consumption and Production held in Fribourg, Switzerlandand on the 24 - 25 September 2009. is made available to all participants. All workshop documents, including presentations, list of participants, background papers are available on Circa.
Objectives of the workshop
The objective of the workshop was to map out the cooperation on SCP between countries, EEA and ETC/SCP within the Eionet for the next 4 years. More specifically, an objective was to discuss with the workshop participants from countries, international and EU organisations potential cooperation regarding EEA/ETC activities on SCP indicators and country fact sheets on SCP policies. The workshop was therefore organised in three main sessions:
- Session I – Working together on SCP in the Eionet network – roles, tasks
- Session II – SCP indicators
- Session III – Exchange of information on SCP policies – SCP country fact sheets
All sessions were facilitated by professional facilitators to provide an interactive workshop. Beside the three main sessions, a keynote speech was held by Professor Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development in the Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, U.K., and commissioner of the U.K.’s Sustainable Development Commission, on the topic of Prosperity without Growth.
Eionet representatives from 27 countries participated in the workshop along with representatives from the European Commission (DG ENV, Eurostat and JRC), UNEP, EEB, the EEA and the ETC/SCP. A total of 68 persons participated in the workshop.
The workshop was chaired by Jock Martin, Head of the Integrated Environmental Assessments programme in the EEA. The workshop was kindly hosted by Switzerland and was officially opened by Hans-Peter Fahrni, Head of the Waste and Raw Materials Division, Federal Office for the Environment. Hans-Peter Fahrni welcomed everyone and gave an introductory talk: Switzerland joined the EEA in 2006 and emphasised that it is very positive about the work resulting from harmonising analyses with the rest of Europe. They are now expanding their work to include more focus on consumption of goods and services, as growing consumption in Switzerland is offsetting progress made in efficiency.
Lars Fogh Mortensen, Head of Group Sustainable Consumption and Production in the EEA, and Birgit Munck-Kampmann, Manager of the ETC/SCP, gave an overview of the role and activities of the EEA and the ETC/SCP in the area of SCP and introduced the new Topic Centre. Jock Martin in his presentation outlined how the current and future activities on SCP match into the EEA’s 2009-2013 strategy.
Session I – Working together on SCP in the Eionet network – roles, tasks and expectations
Almut Reichel, project manager SCP in the EEA and Birgitte Kjaer, task manager in the ETC/SCP, introduced the roles and tasks of NRC’s, the EEA and the ETC/SCP within the EIONET. Then, the participants were split into three groups to discuss inputs and ideas for the programme of work and cooperation on SCP over the next 4 years in the EIONET. The topics were Content, Activities and Means & Processes.
With respect to Content, a wide variety of issues were suggested as elements for future work. These included creating a common understanding of SCP, indicators, consumption trends, the green economy, influencing consumption behaviour, policy effectiveness analyses, policy coherence, rebound effects, exploring the social element of SCP, and eco-labelling.
In the discussions on Means & Processes, a large range of ideas were proposed including enabling and encouraging active networking (workshops, communities, platform for information exchange, internet discussion groups, e-hub etc.), both between the NRCs and the ETC but also among the NRCs themselves, expert workshops, newsletter with ‘best practice’, capacity building, development of a corporate identity and showcases for partnership between countries.
Plenary discussions and conclusions
Jock Martin noted that the EEA/SCP team has limited resources and may therefore not be able to cover all the work areas and measures proposed – some prioritisation will be needed. The idea of a more distributed way of working together on SCP was proposed, for example regional meetings organised by countries, and working with the member states directly for particular pieces of work. As the Regulation establishes the EEA and Eionet together, this partnership gives countries the possibility to take a more active role within Eionet.
Jock Martin also introduced the idea to produce a major SCP assessment report (‘Stern like report’) for SCP by 2012, i.e. a report that would be able to shift SCP higher on the political agenda.
The EEA recognised the call for more interaction and communication, e.g. via a web-based network and more information sharing to make better use of the expertise in the network and to support each other. The EEA and the ETC/SCP will act quickly on this issue.
Session II – SCP indicators
Lars Fogh Mortensen, EEA and David Watson, ETC/SCP, presented a proposal for EEA indicators. The emphasis of the project is to develop a framework and a set of indicators for EEA reporting on progress towards SCP in Europe. The framework and indicator set could also aid member countries in their own selection of SCP indicators and would contribute to reaching common understanding of SCP.
The reporting framework is based on a policy question approach – defining a set of 37 policy questions which will provide the basis for indicator-based assessments. A set of indicators was proposed, making use of indicators produced and maintained by other European institutions and in particular by Eurostat and the new data centres on products, resources and waste. Some of these are already operational; others will require future development through cooperation within the Eionet and the Group of 4 (EEA, DG Environment, Joint Research Centre, Eurostat).
The country participants were asked about the current status of SCP indicator work in their countries. The participants were split into working groups according to this status. Six countries have developed or are developing a stand-alone set of SCP indicators. Most countries (15) have SCP-indicators integrated in national sustainable development indicator sets. Six countries intend to develop SCP indicators in the future. A separate working group comprised the European and international organisations.
The working groups discussed two questions: How can you (country/organisation) support the EEA and how can the EEA support you (country/organisation) on SCP indicators?
Main outcomes of working groups
During the discussions, the countries a well as EU and international organisations very much supported and welcomed the EEA’s and ETC/SCP’s initiative to develop SCP indicators. In more detail, the outcomes of the working groups were:
How can the EEA support the countries?
- help define and shape SCP in Europe through the selection of indicators and developing a common approach and methodology.
- define a clear roadmap on the implementation of the indicator reporting framework and get the indicator set quickly finalised.
- use the information to raise awareness among high profile groups e.g. top politicians, but in addition other potential user groups for sub-sets of SCP indicators i.e. business, consumers, could be investigated.
- provide a further capacity building role for SCP indicator development in member countries.
- potentially provide lists of SCP relevant indicators and data which member countries are obliged to report to Eurostat, the European Commission and under international treaties.
How can the countries support the EEA?
- provide national experience on methodology and indicators and share experiences on data collection etc., providing available data and metadata (through Eurostat).
- disseminate the results of the EEA SCP indicator project national and
- propose alternative indicators that could answer the questions, e.g.indicators which are already operational on national level.
Cooperation with EU and international organisations:
- Eurostat and the data centres can help the EEA to populate the indicators and vice versa the EEA/ETC can help frame Eurostat’s and the data centres’ work on indicator and data development.
- DG Environment can help the EEA shape policy and response indicators, and the indicators are timely to feed into policy development within DG Environment.
- UNEP can contribute with experiences from other regions and EEA can assist UNEP scoping SCP in other regions.
- UNEP proposed that the EEA SCP Indicator Reporting framework be presented at a side event at CSD 2010 provided a country is willing to host it. Dennis Pohl (Belgium) offered to investigate if Belgium could take an initiative here.
The countries and EU and international organisations reacted very positively towards the SCP indicators initiative. Jock Martin proposed to put the topic on the agenda of the regular Directors’ Meeting on Environmental Statistics and Accounts. [Note: Due to sickness at the last moment Jock Martin was unable to attend DIMESA and therefore the opportunity lost to highlight SCP indicators at that meeting.]
Conclusions and next steps
Jock Martin and Lars Fogh Mortensen recognised the broad support for continuing the work on SCP indicators. It was noted by the ETC/SCP that the next stage of actually implementing the SCP indicator based reporting in the EEA would require significant commitment and allocation of resources. The EEA is willing to make this commitment.
The process of indicator selection and reporting should be implemented in the short term, avoiding a lengthy consensus finding exercise. We must accept that the indicator set will not be perfect the first time round. Jock Martin suggested that the SCP Indicator Reporting is a learning process; we just need to get on with doing it now.
The next stage for the EEA and ETC will be the development of an Implementation Plan outlining all the steps in the process and clarifying who (EEA, ETC/SCP, Eurostat and data centres, countries, DG Environment, UNEP) does what in a broad partnership.
Session III – Exchange of information on SCP policies – SCP country fact sheets
Pawel Kazmierczyk, EEA Project Manager SCP, and Jozsef Szlezak and Mikkel Stenbaek Hansen, ETC/SCP team, presented the project on country fact sheets on SCP policies, outlining the process of developing them as well as the content of the pilot fact sheets. This was complemented by a presentation of Switzerland’s SCP policies by Marie-Amélie Ardiot, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment. Then the participants were split into working groups to discuss the benefits of the fact sheets and how the benefits can be further increased.
Main outcome of the discussion of the benefits of the fact sheets:
- Benefits within countries mentioned in the discussions included: useful overview for SCP policymakers; gap identification and policy coherence; help to mobilise other national stakeholders e.g. inter-departmental cooperation in governments.
- Benefits between countries mentioned: dissemination of ideas; inspiration for new policy development; benchmarking; coordination and possible joint implementation.
- Benefits for work with international organisations mentioned: overview to help shape the agenda; visibility of country efforts; disseminating the European model to the wider world.
Main suggestions for actions, which would further increase the benefits of the fact sheets:
Summary and next steps
- Fact sheets should be more closely linked to the SCP indicators project. An overview of how SCP is developing in each country could be linked with the indicators work.
- Adding an analysis element to the fact sheets: policy effectiveness evaluation could be included so that other countries can assess which policy ideas are worthwhile to copy.
- Benchmarking of policies (but not of countries).
- The in-depth analysis in the policy area of household consumption was deemed useful – this could be extended to other areas e.g. retailers, GPP, food, housing, mobility.
- Interlinking the project with other processes, e.g. integrated reporting at national, EU and UN level.
- Regular updating of the fact sheets would be useful.
- Communication of fact sheets were deemed important. A web-based platform for presentation of the country fact sheets is already in place but needs to be promoted.
- In-country contact persons/function could be identified (e.g. for each policy covered) so that other countries can ask for more detailed information.
Most countries found that the fact sheets would be useful to them to different degrees, and the majority of countries expressed their willingness to actively work with the EEA and ETC/SCP on the fact sheets project in the future whereas some others acknowledged the facts sheets as useful but were reluctant towards active engagement. Germany offered its experience with developing a fact sheet to countries who wish to start the development of fact sheets.
Birgit Munck-Kampmann, the Manager of the ETC/SCP said that the process for this project has been difficult, and the workshop has been a useful reality check. We need to remember that the EEA/ETC has a tight budget for continuing this work, so there is a need to manage expectations for all the good ideas put forward.
Lars Fogh Mortensen, EEA, concluded that the EEA needs to consider how to establish a closer link between the SCP fact sheets project and the SCP indicators project, and an important next step would be to define the roles of the countries and the EEA and ETC/SCP in any future work on the country fact sheets
Chair’s summary and outlook for the next four years
Jock Martin started his closing remarks by highlighting the EEA’s role to facilitate exchange of information and experience and build up and maintain a partnership for working together on SCP within the Eionet. This could be done through a new web platform. He said that the EEA will consider how this could be done.
The indicator and fact sheet projects have been endorsed through this workshop, and the EEA will decide how to bring these two projects forward in connection with the development of the EEA’s 2010 Management Plan and the ETC/SCP Implementation Plan for 2010 in the context of a multi-annual perspective. The workshop has also brought out the strong links between the two projects, especially between section C of the indicator framework and the fact sheets work.
The workshop has as well contributed to the collaboration between Eionet and the international organisations within the area of SCP.
Jock Martin also stated that the EEA needs to consider how to draw together various things such as the ‘Stern like’ report on the economics of SCP, the definition of SCP, and influencing the CSD 2010 and 2011 as well as the Rio +20 process.
He stressed that the EEA and the countries can build a unique partnership together. However, in doing so it would be useful to know on what level the countries are willing to commit in order to plan successfully. The EEA is offering 1.2 million Euros (the annual budget for ETC/SCP) and six staff working in the EEA.
Jock Martin thanked Switzerland for hosting the workshop and all participants for their active involvement and thanked in advance for the work to be carried out over the next four years.
After the Eionet workshop, the EEA and ETC/SCP have intensively discussed how the outcome of the discussions at the 2009 Eionet workshop on SCP can be taken into account in the 2010 work programme, and although the planning is not yet finalised, the results so far are outlined below.
Main planned activities in the EEA and ETC/SCP 2010 work programme where the discussions of the Eionet workshop have been taken into account:
In 2010, the EEA and ETC/SCP will:
- investigate in the first half of 2010 how SCP indicators and fact sheets on SCP policies can be more closely linked;
- set up a web-based platform for information exchange. For this we are looking for an advisory group of interested countries who can help us to bring in the user perspective during the development;
- continue working on the SCP indicators set;
- start a process to develop a major economics of SCP assessment report for 2012, based on SCP indicators and country contributions similar to the approach of part C (country assessments) of the State and Outlook of the Environment Report 2010 (SOER). Good cooperation between all Eionet partners is key for developing this report.
- organise an Eionet workshop on SCP, possibly with a focus on the countries’ involvement in the envisaged major economics of SCP assessment report 2012.
Pictures from the 2009 Workshop
||Introduction to workshop sessions by our facilitator Marc Gramberger
||In the 'speeddating' sessions the participators discussed, what we want to achive in the area of SCP within the Eionet network over the next four years |
Lars Fogh Mortensen is introducing the SCP Indicators
Keynote Speaker Professor Tim Jackson is presenting his work: Prosperity without growth
Summary and outlook by chairman Jock Martin, EEA|
||Two of the organisers of the Workshop, Celine Girard and Nicolas Perritaz, From the Federal Office for the Environment Switzerland|