Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, February 19, 2021

REPORT: UNEP - The value-chain approach & its application to food

Report: UNEP (2021). Catalysing Science-based Policy action on Sustainable Consumption and Production – The value-chain approach & its application to food, construction and textiles. Nairobi. 98 p. 

This report explains the ‘Value-Chain Approach’ methodology and shares findings from its application to three critical sectors: food, construction and textiles.

The ‘Value-Chain Approach’ is a methodology for catalysing science-based policy action on sustainable consumption and production. Its purpose is to identify key points of intervention within economic systems to reduce natural-resource use and environmental impacts caused by production and consumption, and to define a common agenda for action.

This report is the product of the International Resource Panel and the One Planet network Task Group, an 18-month collaboration that formed in response to a resolution on sustainable consumption and production at the 4th UN Environment Assembly (UNEA4), composed of experts on natural-resource use from the International Resource Panel, and practitioners on sustainable consumption and production from across the One Planet network.

Most policy measures address either primary production or individual consumption stages. This leaves a continued gap in measures that address the middle stages of the food value chainTools and solutions are available across the One Planet network to address the key challenges along the food value chain. While many activities are at primary production or individual consumption stage or are holistic; there is an opportunity to build on ongoing initiatives at the food processing, retail and
food services – in particular through the sustainable tourism, sustainable procurement and consumer information programmes. (page 48)

The data presented demonstrates that the majority of both natural resource use and environmental impacts that take place along food value chains are occurring at the primary production stage through 
practices such as farming crops, raising livestock and fishing. (page 52)

Primary producers have a limited ability to shape food systems and change their production  practices.   (page 55)

Further detail on the  analysis of the food  value chain is available at

Launch of the Value Chain Report

The United Nations Environment Assembly requested that the One Planet network and the International Resource Panel (IRP) form a Task Group to catalyse science-based policy action on sustainable consumption and production (SCP) (UNEP/EA.4/Res.1)

In order to ‘translate’ the technical information in IRP reports into actionable, science-based recommendations on SCP for governments and businesses, the Task Group developed a ‘value-chain approach’ and applied it to three critical sectors: construction, food and textiles. The report entitled “Catalysing science-based policy action on Sustainable Consumption and Production: The value-chain approach & its application to food, construction and textiles” explains the ‘value-chain approach’ methodology and shares findings from the three sectoral analyses.

Panel: Priorities and Opportunities in Food, Construction and Textiles\
  • Welcome remarks by Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP
  • The Value Chain Approach: A new way to trigger action on SCP by Arthur Eijs, Ministry for Infrastructure & Environment Netherlands, Task Group member
  • Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina (representative tbc), Task Group member
  • Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa (representative tbc), Task Group member
  • Izabella Teixeira, IRP Co-Chair and Task Group member
  • Mr. Rijit Sengupta, Chief Executive Office of the Centre for responsible Business in India, Task Group member

18 February 2021. Ahead of the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5), the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, and the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Inger Andersen, officially launched a new report, untitled “Making Peace with Nature” (UNEP).

UNEP (2021) Making Peace With Nature

Making Peace With Nature, a new report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), synthesizes findings from recent global assessments, including those by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and others. 

It proposes what the authors’ call “a scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies.” The report says the Earth faces a Triple Emergency: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. 
"Without nature’s help, we will not thrive or even survive. For too long, we have been waging a senseless and suicidal war on nature. The result is three interlinked environmental crises. Climate disruption, biodiversity loss and pollution that threaten our viability as a species. They are caused by unsustainable production and consumption," said Guterres during the event.
Andersen said, "There is indeed no precedent for what we must do, but if 2020 was a disaster, 2021 can and must be the year humanity began making peace with nature and secured a fair, just and sustainable future for everyone."

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