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Concept Note #STRIVE TOGETHER 2020
“Time to act together for intensifying efforts to reduce our environmental impact and carbon footprint in the Humanitarian Supply Chain”
Sustainability and greening our supply chain are critical challenges facing us in our humanitarian supply chain strategy, and an important contribution to climate change mitigation efforts.
Facing the global climate and environmental crises requires efficient cooperation across a wide range of actors, across the different stages of the supply chain and across the different stages of the project cycle. The humanitarian supply chain is essential in meeting the needs of people affected by disasters and crises. In turn, greener, more sustainable supply chains also have the potential to be more resilient, less wasteful and more cost effective: addressing critical challenges facing us in our humanitarian operations and in the contexts where we work. Intensifying effort to reduce environmental impact and carbon footprint and transition into a “green” humanitarian supply chain require collective actions.
Policy is in our view a powerful tool to strive for zero environmental impact in the humanitarian supply chain and to define our common objectives. However, we need to work closely together at local and international level to find comprehensive and effective solutions to implement such policies. Efforts to boost the humanitarian supply chain into a green, more environmentally and socially sustainable supply chain need to be mainstreamed as a core activity of humanitarian actors, entrenched in both practice and policy.
Private sector partners are under increasing pressure from regulators, shareholders, employees, and customers to make their supply chains greener and the same expectation increasingly extends to the humanitarian sector. Furthermore, ensuring that humanitarian aid (including supply chain) does not cause harm to people and to their environment is a Responsibility we all share.
While initiatives have progressed in rethinking the ways the humanitarian actors can reduce their environmental footprint (e.g. mapping the present level of greenhouse gas emissions generated by humanitarian relief operations, environmental assessments to identify and mitigate adverse environmental impacts of planned activities, using more sustainable technologies when responding to needs, etc.), challenges in addressing all aspects of the humanitarian environmental impact still exist at field level. We must commit to finding solutions to reduce, reuse, use responsibly sourced aid, operate more efficiently, and eliminate waste. Tackling this issue, requires a collective approach and engagement at all points in the supply chain, so that decision in the upstream are not negatively impacting the downstream in remote and challenging locations that lack the infrastructure to sustainably and safely manage waste.
We have to make sure we can face our climate and environmental challenges in an inclusive, coordinated and effective way, and the humanitarian supply chain is an essential component to reducing our overall environmental impact and enabling more sustainable humanitarian action.
The IFRC network’s Strategy 2030, as adopted at the General Assembly of 2019, places the climate and environmental crises at the centre of the challenges facing humanity in the coming decade. Strategy 2030, together with the Movement Ambitions to Address the Climate Crisis, sets out the collective vision of our global network of 192 Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies, 165,000 local branches and 14 million volunteers on how we intend to meet this global challenge.
This event is in line with the goals and aspirations across the humanitarian logistics sector to reduce environmental impact, as articulated by the Logistics Cluster and which creates a natural synergy supporting coordination and cooperation. The conference will bring together leading technical experts from the academic sector, private sector, humanitarian actors and relevant networks in the environment in the area of supply chain, engaged in supporting the humanitarian actions.
The humanitarian supply chain event will feature:
- Plenaries from high level speakers
- Breakout sessions on three main topics – responsible sourcing, innovation, and waste management – circular humanitarian supply chain.
When human life is threatened amid violence and disaster, the person is the humanitarian goal. Humanitarian actors care for those who are in dire need of life-saving assistance. Subsequently, impacts on the environment – either related to the disaster itself, or to the ensuing humanitarian activity – are often viewed as secondary to the humanitarian imperative.
Humanitarian actors truly recognize the importance of addressing the environmental impacts of humanitarian aid, as well as the need for environmental protection and sustainability.
The conference will provide an engaging platform to exchange, debate, motivate and inspire each other to scale up sustainable humanitarian supply chain and strive to reducing environmental impact.
In recognition of how climate change is already having major humanitarian consequences, and to translate our vision into action, the Red Cross and Red Crescent will hold a fully virtual Climate:Red Summit on 9 and 10 September. The Summit will provide the opportunity for a series of sessions focused on challenges and opportunities for reducing the Environmental Impact in the Humanitarian Supply Chain Management. This initiative fits with the ambition from different humanitarian actors such as the Logistics Cluster to create a persistent platform for sharing good practice and knowledge for greening the humanitarian supply chain, identifying and prioritizing gaps and aligning initiatives.
From awareness to Actions
The sessions will address a range of questions including: How are humanitarian actors moving towards a sustainable supply chain? What are the main challenges faced in reducing our environmental impact, including achieving zero carbon emissions in the humanitarian supply chain?
How together can we influence change and raise the ambition globally? Are existing policies and engagement sufficient?
What changes are needed on the way we (Logisticians) work and how we can be fit for a future in a changing climate? Which initiatives and innovations can help to strive reducing the environmental impact?
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Policies, guidelines, and commitments across the sector – A round table on existing policies
- Circular humanitarian supply chain aiming to reduce environmental impact and carbon footprint:
- Responsible sourcing – how to better influence humanitarian suppliers in greening the complete supply chain? How to consider afterlife of items during the sourcing
- Managing waste of aid – Can we transform how we reduce and manage waste? How humanitarian actors can go beyond that to educate community, raise awareness, and identify actions to reduce waste?
- Innovation that allow to reduce carbon footprint
- Modalities of transportation and freight
It is expected that this forum will help to leverage the existing coordination across the different humanitarian actors, private sector, and donors to address the above challenges.
Available in: French