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UNEP Launches Sustainable Food Production Clearinghouse

A project by Kellogg’s and other groups aimed at spreading sustainable technologies and growing practices for rice is among the initiatives already submitted to the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global SCP Clearinghouse, launched in a bid to promote sustainable food production and consumption.

Policymakers and practitioners across the globe have developed initiatives and tools to contribute to sustainable consumption and production over the years, but the existing information is fragmented and bridges to connect people are missing, UNEP says.

The Clearinghouse uses social networking principles to bring together the global sustainable consumption and production community and create a one-stop hub for knowledge and cooperation on the subject. It provides a place to browse a diverse range of regional and thematic communities, from sustainable procurement to production and education.

The project seeks to inspire the business sector, governments, researchers and others to share initiatives, news, ideas, best practices and tools to create a living worldwide database, and foster and strengthen partnerships through a cooperation marketplace, working groups and forums, UNEP says.

Sustainable consumption and production can help the world’s economy by creating new markets and green jobs, as well as more efficient, and equitable, management of natural resources, UNEP says.

The world’s population of 7 billion people currently needs the resources of one-and-a-half planets to feed itself. If current consumption trends continue, by 2050 — when the population is expected to reach 9 billion — resources equivalent to those provided by three Earths will be needed, UNEP says.

Initiatives already submitted to the Clearinghouse include:

  • A project to mainstream education for sustainable consumption in Chile, Indonesia and Tanzania, conducted with the support of national ministries of both education and environment.
  • The Sustainable Rice Platform launched by UNEP, the International Rice Research Institute, Louis Dreyfus Commodities and Kellogg’s, aimed at spreading sustainable technologies and practices for rice — a food crop that feeds half the planet.
  • A public campaign in Brazil, supported by the largest supermarket chains, to cut by 40 percent plastic bag use in stores by 2015.

In March, IBM launched a social network-based crowd sourcing project aimed at helping to capture, share and analyze information about the water distribution system in South Africa. The project, called WaterWatchers, is driven by a free mobile phone application and SMS capability that will enable South African citizens to report water leaks, faulty water pipes and general conditions of water canals.

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