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ENVforum Annual Conference 2019

The role of consumer in triggering changes in consumption & production

Project Period: Contact: Department: Programme: Theme:
29-30 July 2019 Grażyna PULAWSKA Sustainable Development & Public Health Department Asia-Europe Environment Forum (ENVforum) Sustainable Development

Yokohama, Japan


The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) marked a significant turning point in the global development framework. Now, more than ever, international cooperation and strong partnerships will be central to the success of the development agenda. The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) aims to contribute to this global effort by bridging Asian and European perspectives in sustainable development through the Asia-Europe Environment Forum (ENVforum) Annual Conferences dedicated to specific challenges.

The conference was jointly organised by ASEF and hosted by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), and took place in Yokohama, Japan.

It gathered policy-makers, business representatives and experts from Asia and Europe relevant to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) implementation. In doing so, the conference provided a space for multi-stakeholder, regional and international dialogue and knowledge sharing important for the success of the 2030 Agenda.

The conference explored good practices in promoting and implementing SDGs, with a focus on the role of the consumer in triggering sustainable production and consumption (SCP) and SDG12. Two plenary sessions were held: one on single-use plastics and another on food, health and sustainability. During these sessions, key problems were identified and policy recommendations put forward. 

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Information and conference materials from the 2018 ENVforum Annual Conference, which took place in Warsaw, Poland in October 2018, are available here.

Information and conference materials from the 2017 ENVforum Annual Conference, which took place in Hanoi, Viet Nam in September 2017, are available here.


Partners v2

Project Updates

  • Single-use plastics


    The Asia-Europe Environment Forum (ENVforum) Annual Conference 2019 “The Role of Consumers in Triggering Change in Consumption & Production” was held from 29 to 30 July 2019 at the Pacifico Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan. The conference brought together various stakeholders from civil society organisations, governments, and businesses to discuss the potential of consumers in achieving SDG 12: Ensuring Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns.

    One of the main issues discussed during the conference was related to the prevalence of single-use plastic. One report stated that with the current trend of consumption and waste management practices, there will be an estimated 12 billion tons of plastic litter in landfills and natural environment.  Plastics in environment have dire consequences on biodiversity, health, social and economic, with many cross-cutting factors.

    The conference explored the role of consumers and other stakeholders in mitigating the impact of plastic consumption. In doing so, participants brainstormed the root causes of the plastic waste problem and proposed policy recommendations based on national experiences and expertise on the issue. The following were the key insights found:

    1. The main driver behind plastic waste is overconsumption. Therefore, to address the issue we need to consider absolute reduction the use of plastic
    2. Preventing plastic waste is more than merely addressing it as a waste management challenge. It needs to be tackled at various levels with ensuring representation of stakeholders involved in all stages of the plastic life cycle. Reduction of plastics must go beyond recycling and consider a circular economy approach including life-cycle analyses of plastics; adopting a supply chain perspective; and having clear understanding of stakeholder groups lobbying against progressive actions
    3. Consumers can be a powerful force but clear channels for consumers to be heard are needed.To allow for thorough information and awareness, we need triggers and an enabling environment to act, and a recognition that there are also limitations to what consumers can do to change the whole system
    4. Total bans on plastics are not always a solution.Plastic is not bad or good – despite the daunting statistics, unless there is a perfect substitute for plastic, it is here to stay due to its characteristics. For example, in the medical industry, there is a lack of such alternative which could withstand contamination as well as plastic. Therefore, we must invest in, or ensure availability of viable alternatives. At the same time, there is a need to practice caution from shifting the problem to other potentially less sustainable materials. There is a need to

    Based on these insights, the following policy recommendations were formulated:

    • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) systems should be made more ambitious by targeting problematic single-use plastics.Such a system could include:
      • introduction of incremental fees
      • differentiated cost structure to incentivize greater design for the environment
    • Regulation across the supply chain remains key for implementing a life cycle approach to plastic packaging management.Main actions could include:
      • targeting distributors and logistic services (in addition to consumers and retailers)
      • take back obligations of transport packaging associated with large consumer goods
    • Obligatory information disclosure should be considered for large manufacturers, producers, distributors and collectors, with emphasis on reporting on generation and trade of plastics
    • Claims on recyclability, reusability, and material reductions should be made a legally enforceable part of product quality standards

    These outcomes were presented during the plenary session of the International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific (ISAP) 2019.

    Information and conference materials, including full conference report, from the ENVforum Annual Conference 2019 can be found here.


  • We have launched our networking app!

    Published on 15 Jul 2019

    Brella instagram white

    Start building partnerships & joint ventures in sustainable consumption and production using Brella, our preferred user-friendly event matchmaking app!

    This new networking app, powered by Brella, allows you to schedule a time and place for your business development meetings during the ENVforum Annual Conference 2019 in Yokohama, Japan. People who have used this app say they get 80% more B2B meetings compared to using email.


    How does it work?


    (Click here for a quick video guide)


    It’s incredibly simple. Download the Brella app from your app store, sign in using our event join code (will be provided to participants via email), and the app will automatically match you to other attendees based on what you’re looking for and what you offer. Or you can simply browse the attendee profiles, message each other and suggest meetings!

    1. Build your profile
    Add your photo, custom pitch, social media links and more. Display what you seek, and what you offer!

    2. Browse top matches
    Brella offers you matches based on what you’re looking for and what you offer. You can browse other profiles and send meeting requests.

    3. Book 1:1 meetings
    Select a time, send a meeting request, and receive a location table number automatically.

    4. Manage your event schedule
    View your event schedule, reschedule meetings easily, chat with delegates.


    Download Brella from Google Play or the App Store (please sign in with one e-mail address only, and please allow for push notifications as meeting confirmations and updates from the conference will be sent via notifications).


    Where do the on-site meetings happen?


    1. Numbered Tables
    A dedicated meeting area with numbered tables/meeting points makes meeting easy.

    2. 15-Minute Power meetings
    Each meeting lasts 15 minutes. No time wasted!

    3. Notifications
    Attendees get meeting reminders 5 minutes before.


    We encourage all participants to download the app and sign up before the conference so that you benefit from the full experience!


    We look forward to meeting you through Brella!

  • brella logo colour RGBWe are going to take your event experience to the next level! We are excited to announce that on 15 JULY 2019, Brella networking tool will be open and we hope you to make the most out of this opportunity. Growing your network has never been this easy!


    We have already over 50 incredible delegates and organisations registered for the ENVforum Annual Conference 2019, and the number is growing every day. 


    Brella meetings will take place at a dedicated networking area, making networking ever so easy! We'll let you know the moment you are able to start matching! 

  • HSF-0124 5


    The Asia-Europe Environment Forum (ENVforum) Annual Conference 2019 will be held from 29 to 30 July 2019 at the Pacifico Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan. This conference is organised by the ENVforum consortium, and hosted by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan.

    The topic for this year’s conference is “The role of consumer in triggering changes in consumption & production”, where various stakeholders from civil society organisations, governments, and businesses will come together to discuss the role of the consumer in ensuring sustainable consumption and production (SCP), as part of Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG 12). This is a follow-up from last year’s conference, which was centered on working towards a circular economy.

    This conference will also see the inclusion of health priorities when ensuring SCP, where experts will discuss the future of food, with a special focus on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and sustainable lifestyle. This is the first time the ENVforum is bringing in issues related to health as it is a topic that affects the global population, regardless of socio-economic status.

    The 2-day conference will consist of several interactive sessions on single-use plastics and the future of food, allowing for the exchange of presentations showcasing national progress and achievements by representatives from Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) partners as well as plenary discussions on relevant aspects of SCP and circular economy.

    IGES will also be hosting certain key sessions on the second day of the conference, including discussions on fostering innovations for sustainable resource management and collective resilience, the next steps in education on sustainable development and in achieving the SDGs, and the regional circular and ecological sphere initiative with Satoyama conservation in the North Settsu area in Japan.

    Through enhanced exchanges between multiple stakeholders, the ENVforum conference aims to contribute to a better understanding of the role of the consumer in working towards SDG. The event will particularly support regional and international dialogue among ASEM Partners on sustainable development issues.

    This event is by invitation only. For more information, please contact the team via email.

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