The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and other stakeholders in the nation’s packaged food-drinks, water, and container- producing industries have agreed that cooperation with government is one of the major ways through which sustainable consumption could be achieved.
The stakeholders said steps toward attaining the benchmarks set up by the United Nations on Sustainble Development Goals (SDGS) concerning production and consumption of recycled products by the year 2030 had been identified.
The stakeholders, who made the call in Lagos at the just concluded forum organised by the FCCPC to commemorate Consumer Rights Day, also called for regulatory guidelines to promote sustainable consumption of recycled products in the country. They said adopting the principles was vital for sustainability and protection of Nigerian consumers and the nation’s economy.
The Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, used the forum to call on manufacturers, consumers and other stakeholders to collaborate with government to change the narrative to one that will not only safeguard the environment, but also enhance the welfare of consumers. He said issues related to sustainable consumption must be a thing of concern to all stakeholders; – the government, business operators as well as consumers.
“Consumers have a right to sustainable environment and government, businesses and consumers play a vital role in ensuring the environment is sustained,” he said.
Irukera, pointed out that the present health challenge, being faced by countries, around the world, including Nigeria, had made sustainable consumption, imperative; since it ensures that goods and services are used in a way that minimised negative impact on the environment
While commending the stakeholders, including representatives of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, consumer advocacy groups and business chieftains, Irukera argued that it had become imperative for all stakeholders to discuss and find solutions to the problems of waste management facing the country, rather than allow the government to come up with regulations, other stakeholders had little, or no, input in.
He said: “The issue of waste has remained a huge challenge in big cities around the world, including some Nigerian cities. And I think the time has come for stakeholders, including manufacturers, consumers and government to sit down and come up with guiding principles for sustainable consumption in the country.
“For instance, some cellophane bags take as long as 400 years to decay, since they are mostly not biodegradable. Is that the type of the legacy that we want to leave for generations, coming after us?” he asked.
According to the FCCPC’s boss, the forum, therefore provided stakeholders the opportunity to discuss how to ensure sustainable consumption in the country, especially in the nation’s food-drinks, water, and container producing industries.
Speaking further, Irukera urged consumers to be assertive by ensuring that their rights were not infringed upon, pointing out that government would soon form a taskforce of both public and private sectors to promote aggressive campaign to encourage consumers to recycle and purchase recyclable products.
He said the long-term plan would encourage the manufacturer to invest in more eco-friendly packaging materials.
Meanwhile, part of the resolutions reached at the forum included the promotion and use of international health standards to improve land and soil quality as well as promote awareness on the benefit of environmental, social and economically sustainable consumption to preserve the environment now and the future.
The participants resolved to promote adequate labelling with respect to specific sustainable claims, deploy appropriate technology to encourage environmentally friendly products and services to avoid waste, e.g. recyclable materials.