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FSC responds to EU consultation on follow-up to Rio+20

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

© FSC A.C. – Rio+20
© FSC A.C.

On 7 January 2013, FSC responded to the European Commission’s call for contributions to a consultation on “ensuring sustainable development globally”. This consultation focuses on how the EU should act to follow up after the Rio+20 conference in June 2012.

In response to questions on the way forward on an “inclusive green economy”, FSC expressed its surprise about the absence of sustainable public procurement in the list of proposed policy tools. It pointed out that a number of Member States practice green public procurement, but that social dimensions need to be better integrated if these are to achieve “inclusiveness”.

FSC also highlighted the current process of revising EU public procurement laws, which risks limiting the possibilities for public authorities to include social issues in their public procurement policies. This is especially important in relation to the impacts of production processes on adjacent communities, particularly concerning the harvesting of timber. FSC therefore proposed that the Commission “include sustainable public procurement explicitly in the list of tools, ensure that EU legislation is consistent with this, and to include also more explicitly the need for natural resource management and resource efficiency policies.”

As regards EU’s interaction with other countries, FSC called upon the Commission to “invest in a major campaign to promote sustainable public procurement globally, and to provide practical support and assistance to countries where the overarching concerns are: lack of locally produced goods and services that are certified or in other ways recognized as “sustainable”, and/or lack of knowledge/experience with designing and/or implementing such a policy. One way of doing this would be by giving dedicated support to the Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative coordinated by UNEP.” It also called for dedicated financial support for forest certification investments by communities and smallholders, in particular in developing countries.

Furthermore, FSC proposed that the Commission: “give specific support to robust certification schemes, based on balanced multi-stakeholder governance, that have proven to trigger sustainable production and consumption patterns, with special attention to the social, environmental and economic dimensions of production, where these can, in particular, bring concrete improvements in developing countries.”

FSC’s contribution to the consultation also included a call for the Commission to increase the ambitiousness of its own instruments, such as the European Ecolabel and Green Public Procurement guidance: “One specific action would be to ensure that all relevant labels and guidance require, 100% sustainable sourcing of the materials used for the products concerned. Currently sustainable sourcing is a requirement for timber only, and only for a certain percentage. This is weak in two ways.”

FSC criticized the poor outcomes of Rio+20 in relation to forest protection and management. The consultation called for proposals about what to include in a set of Sustainable Development Goals which the UN will agree in 2015 to follow up from Rio+20. FSC proposed the inclusion of “halting deforestation and forest degradation globally”, combined with the already-agreed Aichi Biodiversity Target which aims to restore of 15% of currently degraded ecosystems, and a goal to achieve sustainable forest management globally.

See answers FSC (below in the "Downloads" section)
See also: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/rio20_en.htm (Consultation deadline is 15 January 2013).

For more information: John Hontelez, Chief Advocacy Officer FSC, j.hontelez@fsc.org


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