// June 5, World Environment Day (WED), is the UN principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over 120 member countries of the UN have celebrated this day with a meaningful manner in this year. It is also observed as 'people day' for doing something positive for the environment that creates positive impact on our planet. The theme of this day in this year was 'Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care'. Sustainable development is depending on the responsible management of the natural resources of the planet. The current consumption and production patterns, if continues, when the population of world as expected reach to 10 billion in 2050, we will need three planets to sustain our consumption and living. The host country of WED 2015 was Italy, a country at the forefront of global action towards improvement of global nutrition and use of resources. WED 2015 focuses on the efficient management of natural resources in the respect of carrying capacity of the planet to ensure global prosperity and well-being.
The theme 'consume with care' is possible through practice of 'Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP)'. SCP aims to do 'more and better with less' by reducing use of resources, degradation and pollution along the life cycle of goods and services, and to enhance the quality of life and well-being for all. It is a holistic approach that encompasses the triple bottom line of sustainable development, thereby aiming to increase efficiency and prevent unnecessary wastes of resources. The Oslo Ministerial Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Consumption and Production in 1994 defined 'SCP is the use of goods and services that respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life, while minimising the use of natural resources, toxic materials and emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle, so as not to jeopardise the needs of future generations'. In practice, SCP requires a change of mindset, behaviour and patterns of industry and consumers, which are the real actors of the consumption and production system.
Bangladesh is one of the largest deltas in the world which is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. The total land area is 147,570 sqkm and population is around 150 million (2011), which is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The adverse effects of climate change --- high temperature, sea-level rise, cyclones, salinity intrusion, heavy monsoon downpours etc --- have aggravated the overall economic development of the country. The rise of sea-level up to one metre only, Bangladesh could lose up to 15 per cent of its land area under the sea water and around 30 million people could become refugees. Climate change effects will be the cause of suffering of the various sectors of the country including agriculture, industry, infrastructure, livelihoods, marine resources, forestry, biodiversity, human health and utility services.
The theme of WED 2015 is suitable and important for Bangladesh. SCP will help minimise climate change effects and reduce environmental degradation in the country. This strategy is one of the most effective approaches towards low-carbon economy to mitigate climate change. Sustainable production in agriculture and food will ensure not only health and safety to consumers and producers, but also safety of the environment. Sustainable agricultural practices address both social and environmental concerns for providing assurance of both safety and quality. Industries can apply sustainable management practices such as adopting environmental management systems, reporting on key sustainability perspectives of the business, appointing employees responsible for environmental management, institutionalising sustainability across the business from board level recognition to employee-wide awareness. SCP ensures to adopt sustainable practices at each of the lifecycle stages including sourcing, production, distribution, design of products and services, use of products, and waste management.
Consumer lifestyles moving towards healthy living can adopt sustainable practices. SCP can change consumers' attitudes and consumption habits towards greener behaviour and good consumption practices such as buying sustainable products, saving water and energy, reducing waste, living actively and eating healthy food and choosing low-impact transport. Rise of education and awareness in among the consumers can create healthier consumer demand. To avoid unsustainable consumption patterns in household, SCP is supporting housing designs that is design of energy, water, waste, food, and transport system of a housing project. Household sustainable consumption habits are shaping by educating consumers through social concern, environmental awareness, and solidarity.
SCP requires coordination and interventions at all levels of civil and business society and the government as well. The necessary efforts for SCP practices in Bangladesh are; effective coordination within government and non-government organisations, awareness building of all consumers, industry and government, and systematic integration of SCP into the education processes.
Dr Md Anowar Hossain Bhuiyan is an environment expert and consultant. He is working as Long-Term Expert at SCP Malaysia Policy Support Project under Prime Minister's Department of Malaysia. Email: [email protected]