Corporate-led paradigm at the root of unsustainable consumption-production

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

Corporate-led paradigm at the root of unsustainable consumption-production
Webinar series launched

Civil society organizations (CSOs) launched today a three-part webinar series tackling sustainable consumption and production or SDG 12 of the United Nations’ (UN) Agenda 2030.

Spearheaded by IBON International, People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), Council for People’s Development and Governance, and Climate Change Network for Community-based Initiatives, the webinar series seek to publicize the discussion on the nature, situation, and the future of sustainability in terms of production and consumption a year after COVID-19 first struck.

Dubbed as “Beyond COVID 19: Promoting People-Powered Sustainable Consumption and Production (PP-SCP)”, the first part of the series covered the current state of consumption and production in Asia and identified its root causes.

Azra Sayeed of PCFS, explained the unequal power relations and the dominance of multinational and transnational corporations in global trade which ingrains unsustainable production and consumption to poor countries.

“A very small minority of people have believed that they can actually hold everybody hostage to their desire for profit. It’s not a new system — it’s a class-based paradigm like monarchy and slavery,” she says, citing the capture of developing countries’ markets and resources by very few rich and developed countries through unequal economic relations.

According to Sayeed, global economic elites are trying to further policies that maintain unsustainable consumption and production processes post-COVID 19.

“[The post-COVID 19] policy agenda is dictated by corporations who are responsible for the profit-seeking, blood-seeking paradigm while they control the world’s resources,” adds Azra.

SDG 12 is among the goals adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015 which aims to reduce and eliminate waste and pollution and ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns for curbing the adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation. However, critical CSOs argue that the goal and its indicators are problematic as it does not acknowledge the systematic barriers that hinder sustainability and deprive people of their rights.

“Unsustainable production and consumption are symptoms of systemic, structural barriers that rest on the social, cultural, political, and economic make-up of societies,” Lei Covero of IBON International explained.

The groups attribute the rise of zoonotic and other types of diseases to unsustainable economic processes. Hence, they argue that the world must not return to “business-as-usual” and instead adopt truly transformational alternatives. “The current system must be replaced by radically transforming the systems of production and consumption that dismantle inequality and take care of the people and the planet,” says Covero.

The second forum to be held on June 29, 2021 will cover people-centered, rights-based practices from countries across Asia while the third will tackle ways forward in campaigning and advocacy initiatives, coinciding with the opening of the UN High-Level Political Forum on July 13, 2021 where SDG 12 will be reviewed.

The entire webinar series serves as a build-up for the Global People’s Summit on Food Systems, a counter-summit led by PCFS and its seventeen allied organizations against the corporate-controlled United Nations’ Food Systems Summit which the groups denounce. The recommendations in all three parts will be compiled as advocacy messages to be submitted to the UN High-Level Political Forum and other related advocacy spaces. #