UNESCO launches event in Italy to defend oceans, promote responsible consumption

Rome, Nov 27 : Under the motto "Blue is the new Black," a two-day event of UNESCO took place in the lagoon city of Venice in Italy, aimed at promoting oceans protection and responsible shopping behaviour. The two-day UNESCO event took place on Friday and Saturday. The "Blue Friday" initiative was launched by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO to raise awareness on the protection of seas and oceans exactly during the "Black Friday" weekend, and to provide an alternative to it, Xinhua news agency reported. Held at Palazzo Zorzi in cooperation with Venice local authorities, the initiative comprised several events over the two days, including "a panel on blue finance and sustainable fashion, gatherings to promote a more sustainable consumption and production, and a theatre show on the history of the seas". Experts said they are upbeat about the impact on audience, considering the recent increasing public interest around events linked to environment protection. "This is definitely a trend we have been seeing toward all issues related to the climate crisis in recent years," Francesca Santoro, a senior programme officer of the IOC-UNESCO, told Xinhua. Among the events held on Saturday were round tables with representatives of global and local companies in design and fashion discussing the consumers and production behaviours' effects on the health of oceans and seas, and the possible concrete alternatives. In the interview, Santoro noted that the role of private actors was another recent novelty, because firms were becoming more environmentally sensitive and wanted to meet an increasing consumers' demand for eco-friendly products. These changes would allow scientists to be more effective, she said. "While these issues were basically discussed within the international scientific community until a few years ago only, today we can easily work with a cross-multidisciplinary approach, involving journalists, communicators, artists, designers, and fashion experts, for example." "This allows us to communicate more easily, and to convey a clearer and more targeted message," she opined. According to estimates released by the IOC-UNESCO ahead of the initiative, nearly 80 per cent of clothes and items purchased were thrown away after only one or even zero use. But consumers were signaling they were ready for a change, with nearly 40 per cent of those involved in the survey saying they were willing to pay higher prices for climate-conscious products, and 43 per cent more likely to choose products from brands using sustainable practices, such as carbon-neutral shipping. The so-called "Black Friday" falls on the last Friday of November every year, opening the Christmas shopping. Due to the strong discounts it entails, it marks one of the most intense periods of consumerism at global level. /IANS


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