Such is the main takeaway of Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Innovation, and Futures Thinking, from the panel’s third public hearing on Wednesday (January 22).
Following through on the committee’s earlier hearing that focused on Goal 12 of the SDGs, Cayetano led another discussion with government agencies and civil society members to track the country’s action plan towards sustainable consumption and production.
Goal 12 of the SDGs calls on nations to ensure sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns, particularly through the promotion of consumer information and education for sustainable development and lifestyles.
Also discussed in the hearing were the best practices being implemented towards SCP at the national and the local level.
While stressing the importance of influencing consumer behavior to encourage waste reduction, Cayetano said industry manufacturers carry the bigger responsibility of shifting towards more sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives for their products.
“How do we push producers to innovate? That’s one of the challenges we have. If we want citizens to shift to more sustainable products, how can they [do so] if they are [presented] with [products that] are not sustainable?” she pointed out.
“Many young people are so game to embrace new sustainable practices. But what kind of change will we make if the producers themselves refuse to adjust their mindset,” she added.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) also cited during the hearing that a change in the behavior of both consumers and producers is necessary for sustainable waste reduction. This, according to the agency, can be done by conducting public education campaigns on SCP.
In addition, Cayetano stressed the importance of codifying and harmonizing the best practices towards SCP, following the lead of local communities that are already implementing sound policies on sustainability.
“We have isolated provisions on the efficient use of resources per area of life; but as regulators and lawmakers, we are having difficulty following up and assessing those provisions. It’s difficult to look at the overall picture because [our plans] are not yet harmonized. Hopefully, the cities and communities can help us put it all together,” the senator said.
“I also hope that our committee can make it easy to codify these best practices towards SCP, which other communities can follow and prioritize,” she added, as she expressed support for NEDA’s intention to come up with a budget codification for certain priority SDGs in the next six months.
Furthermore, the concept of zero waste management was also among the highlights of the panels’ discussion on SCP.
Representatives from the Mother Earth Foundation and Ecowaste Coalition particularly stressed that achieving zero waste requires community responsibility – through reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting wastes – as well as industrial responsibility – through re-designing and shifting into alternative, sustainable products.
Cauayan, Isabela Mayor Bernard Dy was also invited as a resource person in the hearing, where he shared the city’s best practices on localizing SDGs through various sustainable initiatives like the Cauayan City Food Bank and the conceptualization of e-vehicles in their community, among others.#