In SwitchMed, SCP/RAC is leading actions to support the creation and development of circular economy businesses in the Mediterranean. These businesses are acknowledged by the countries of the Barcelona Convention as key drivers for the Green and Blue Economy in the Mediterranean region.
While all businesses must adapt to their political, social and economic context and operate within regulatory and institutional constraints, green and circular economy businesses often face additional challenges such as establishing a secure foothold in the market, staying competitive with other businesses that do not internalize the costs of environmental and social responsibility, limited opportunities for building capacity on sustainable business practices, and access to financing.
Enhancing the enabling environment for green and circular businesses in the Mediterranean
One of SCP/RAC’s main action lines in SwitchMed is a process to formulate a set of regional measures to support the development of green and circular businesses and strengthen the demand for more sustainable products in the Mediterranean. It started at the end of 2019 with an official request from the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (COP21) to prepare such proposal.
The regional measures are expected to promote harmonization of policies and approaches among regional actors, with the overarching aim of increasing the adoption of eco-innovation techniques among businesses, generating new green jobs, and strengthening the demand for more sustainable products.
Job creation, in particular, is of utmost importance in the southern Mediterranean countries with an abundant young population and high youth unemployment rates, especially for young women.
Together, this set of regional measures will contribute to a number of strategic objectives of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) and the Regional Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Mediterranean (Regional SCP Action Plan), as well as UNEA-4 resolution nº1 on “Innovative pathways to achieve sustainable consumption and production” and nº4 on “Addressing environmental challenges through sustainable business practices”.
In order to prepare the proposal of Regional Measures to be adopted at COP22 of the Barcelona Convention at the end of 2021, an in-depth analysis of the current situation in the region was conducted as well as a wide consultation process.
SCP/RAC has identified 10 best practices from around the world on policy measures that foster an enabling environment for green and circular businesses.SEE MORE
As a starting point for the stakeholder consultations, SCP/RAC has developed a set of preliminary regional policy recommendations. These are informed by the knowledge assets generated in the first phase of SwitchMed (available at the SwitchMed e-library), including findings and recommendations from National Policy Briefs, lessons from the national events and consultations conducted (e.g. Synergy Workshops, Switchers Meet Investors,…), and by the priorities of the National Action Plans for SCP. The preliminary measures are also based on the results of two key SCP/RAC studies: a baseline assessment on enabling environments for green and circular economy businesses in the Mediterranean; and a selection of best practices from around the world on policy measures that foster the creation and development of these businesses. These documents can be consulted by clicking in the banners “Regional stakeholder consultation” and “International Best Practice Factshseets on Policy Instruments” above.
The initiatives of the EU Circular Economy Package were likewise be considered. As a complement to these measures, SCP/RAC also articulated criteria for the definition of green and circular businesses in the Mediterranean, to build a common understanding of the attributes that distinguish these businesses from traditional enterprises.
The preliminary regional summary of policy recommendations was the basis of the virtual stakeholder consultation that was organized during 2020 and 2021. The consultation targeted a broad set of stakeholders in the region representing businesses, governments, consumers and other civil society groups, regional institutions, the financial sector and academia, amongst others. The outcome of this consultation fed into the priority regional measures that will support the development of green and circular economy businesses and strengthen demand for more sustainable products.