Making the shift towards responsible consumption and production - the role of parliaments in promoting circular economy, innovative business models and education for sustainable development




Senator Mario-Ovidiu OPREA


Distinguished colleagues,


The transition to responsible consumption and production requires a diversity of tools and measures, and the engagement of various actors including, of course, parliaments.


Following the Rio+20 Conference of 2012, the international community has been implementing the UN 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns, which has become a part of the 2030 Development Agenda as the first target under SDG 12. The vast majority of IPU member countries adopted national policies and initiatives to decouple growth from environmental degradation.


SDG12 has been examined at the last year’s edition of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Based on the national voluntary reviews we already have a first set of updated findings about the progress achieved, the various national approaches, the inter-connections of SDG 12 with other Goals as experienced on the ground, the obstacles to be tackled, a.s.o.


The conclusions of last year’s review point out to the need to:


- integrate SCP into sustainable development legislation and policies, across all levels of governance and supply chains;

- put in place a legislative framework that encourages corporate social responsibility, transparent green procurement, and circular economy;

- enhance SCP education for both producers and consumers;

- engage all stakeholders, particularly young people;  

- adopt new growth models that go beyond GDP per capita to encompass human well-being criteria. 


All these requirements genuinely confirm that parliaments of all regions have a crucial role and responsibility in implementing SDG12.


Given the complexity of the topic, the resolution could focus on three major drivers: circular economy, innovative business models, and education for sustainable development.


Circular economy calls for transformative changes in the ways we produce and consume. Circularity is about closed material loops and enhanced resource efficiency along with reduced pollution levels tackling climate change mitigation. It also implies constant rethinking and optimizing of performance through the use of innovation and cost-effective technologies.


SDG12 is one of the Goals that requires action from all actors in the business sector. SCP-related innovative business models are therefore the ones that enhance circular economy, the ones leading to the development of innovative products aimed to incentivize reduced energy use, the ones introducing new pricing models that incentivize a more sustainable living, the ones favoring the selling more services, rather than more goods.


Education for sustainable development is crucial in achieving SDG 12. It enables people to acquire the values, knowledge and skills allowing them to make responsible and sustainable choices of products and services, and to adopt more sustainable lifestyles. Youth make up an important group in consumer societies, and the habits they develop now will have a major impact on future consumption patterns.

We hope that, based on these arguments, the Bureau will give favourable consideration to the Romanian proposal. 

Thank you very much for your attention.