UN CC:Learn and SCYCLE partnered up to develop a brand new course on “How to Prevent E-Waste”.

 

Read on to find out what you can do to start addressing this growing and pressing problem.

What do you usually do with that old phone that has been replaced and doesn’t have any use for you anymore?

If you have answered “nothing”, you are not alone. Most people don’t actually properly dispose of their old phones – or any other electronic device – and instead toss them into drawers not to be used again. In the worst cases, these old devices end up in regular waste bins, mixing up with regular trash, fueling a growing environmental problem called “e-waste”.

As technology developed, e-waste has increased bringing along a range of environmental, social, and economic problems. E-waste has become the fastest growing waste stream in the world, and in 2019 alone, 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste were generated globally, and only a tiny fraction of it is being properly disposed of or recycled. The demand for more raw materials has enormous consequences for the environment, contributing to, among other things, climate change.

To help tackle this problem, UN CC:Learn partnered up with UNITAR’s Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE) Programme to develop the “How to Prevent E-Waste” e-course. This 2-hour, free and self-paced e-learning course aims to provide individuals with practical solutions to tackle the e-waste crisis. In 4 modules, learners will discover how e-waste can be a source of valuable components that can be recycled, reused, or repaired, and what they can do to support the shift from the currently linear production and consumption model towards circular economy and society.

By the end of the course, learners will be able to:

  • Discuss what electronic waste is and the diverse impacts it has
  • Describe the role individuals, companies, and authorities play in reducing e-waste
  • Identify ways for consumers to support circularity, including by influencing industry players and lawmakers
  • Highlight individual and community actions to tackle and prevent e-waste.

The course aims to inspire, as much as educate. It dares learners to co-create a better tomorrow through individual and joint action.

Upon completion of all the activities of the course, learners are awarded an official UN CC:Learn certificate.

Take the course here!

Our newly launched “Circular Economy in South Africa” e-course lays out this concept for you while providing examples of how it could bring economic progress to South Africa.

Read on to find out more about the course!

Everyone is talking about shifting to more sustainable models of production and consumption, but what does it actually mean? This question is complex and encompasses several aspects of people’s lives but there may be an answer to solve it all: a shift towards a circular economy. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation defines circular economy as “one that is restorative and regenerative by design and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles.”

To shed light on this issue and help unpack this concept, UN CC:Learn has recently launched the Circular Economy for the Waste Sector in South Africa. The three-module course takes an average of two hours to be completed. The course has been developed in collaboration with  United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with support from the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE), under the framework of the EU-funded Switch Africa Green Programme. Among other things, you will learn to:

  • Explain what a circular economy is, its main principles, objectives, and benefits
  • Identify key issues and economic opportunities in the South African waste sector
  • Describe applications of circularity in the waste sector
  • Describe the current waste management policy framework
  • Identify concrete approaches that can support the circularity transition in South Africa

The course is filled with real-life examples of how circular economy principles can be applied to different businesses. For instance, learners will find out about companies helping push circularity across different industries, like Blueland, a company providing zero-waste, sustainable cleaning tablets, and Buy Me Once, which offers lifetime guarantees to consumers, giving them the opportunity to fix their products instead of having to change them.

The course considers the challenges and opportunities for applying best practices in circularity to the waste sector in South Africa. Even in the challenging country and regional context , circular economy nonetheless provides a pathway for delivering economic growth and job creation while improving people’s health and protecting the environment.

Start learning today!

In June 2022, UN CC:Learn attended the Greentech Festival, a two-day event devoted to finding solutions for the climate crisis through green entrepreneurship and innovation. Among conferences with high-level speakers and exhibits of groundbreaking ideas, the festival showed where the corporate world is headed with regard to sustainability.

 

Read on to find out more!

Go green or go home! That was the message delivered by Gerd Müller, Director General at UNIDO and former Germany’s Finance Minister, at the Greentech Festival. For Mr. Müller, cooperation and green entrepreneurship are the watchwords around which the work being done by the private and public sectors should be anchored. For him – and several other personalities and keynote speakers at the festival – the tools and resources to clean up and go green are known and available, but cooperation and political will are  lagging a long way behind.

Speech by Gerd Müller at the Greentech Festival

With the motto “Together We Change the World for the Better”, the Greentech Festival, a Berlin-based, sustainability-focused event organized by former Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg, provides a platform for sustainability-driven personalities and entrepreneurs in the sustainability space to network, showcase innovations, voice their concerns and debate about the role the private sector can play in driving the much-needed shift towards greener and  carbon neutral economies.  From small entrepreneurs to  global corporations, the two-day festival (22-23 June 2022) brought together like-minded people who are dedicating their efforts to solving the environmental crisis. For UN CC:Learn the event provided an opportunity to better understand the latest buzzwords from within the industry, to showcase the importance of education and training pathways for change and to … network too! 

Many  companies  now understand the importance of education of the workforce and supply chains as a way of changing mindsets and driving action at all levels of business.  But there was clearly more of a sense of delight in much more tangible things that can be done be it through the design of new products – such as “biocarbons”, which are high-quality materials with different types of use that are made through innovative processes that take out CO2 from the atmosphere – or systems and procedures. In a discussion hosted by Lufthansa for example participants thought that airlines should give priority treatment not to those with the most airmiles but rather those who offset the GHG emissions the most. What a visible and direct way this could send the message to consumers that things are changing. 

Day 2 closing debate at the Greentech Festival with Nico Rosberg and the CEOs of E.ON and Austrian Airlines.

Day 2 included an excellent series of bootcamps on  “Green Leadership, Goal Setting and Aligning Company Values”. These were highly interactive, engaging and expertly lead opportunities to get to grips with very practical challenges being faced by companies; such as how to ensure that offsetting is meaningful;  how car companies can communicate more effectively with consumers (in particular the under 35); and what the airline industry can to go net zero. For UN CC:Learn these bootcamps served to further demonstrate how important education is as a pathway towards  sustainable solutions. 

All of this said, there was still very much as sense that the future is still about developing and selling products, albeit products with a much lower carbon footprint. The ability of the earth’s systems to deliver on such a future was less in evidence in either the number or the discussion. For some it appears obvious that more and more products cannot be the way forward. 

Presentation at the GreenTech Festival

UN CC:Learn is looking to work with the conference organisers to identify a possible role in promoting education, training and awareness. The GreenTech Festival  is also hosting events in London and Singapore, as well as New York in the future. UN CC:Learn is very grateful for the support of the Nico Rosberg Family for their support in facilitating our participation. 

The Day May Break Photo Exhibit at the Greenwich Festival

Sustainable development in the African continent faces challenges related to consumption and production. This course introduces participants to key sectors, such as energy and agriculture, as well as policies and international frameworks to foster more sustainable consumption and production patterns.

 

“The course is incredible, I will certainly recommend it to my closest friends!” – Learners from Mauritius

Enroll
  • Circularity

Self-paced course

6 hours

Welcome

In this course, we will go on a journey to Africa and and discuss what are the challenges and outlooks for sustainable development on the continent. The course introduces you to the key approaches, policies and international frameworks that aim to unlock more sustainable patterns of consumption and production (SCP).

We will cover a number of aspects and various thematic areas: from energy efficiency – to climate-smart agriculture, from SCP tools, policies and international agreements – to behavioral change of individuals.

Our path consists of five modules, each divided into several lessons. For more information on the course structure, methodology, learning objectives and completion requirements, please download the course syllabus. If you encounter any technical difficulty or if you have any questions, please consult our help page.

What you will learn

After completing the course, participants will be able to:

  • Define the concept of SCP and explain its value for Africa and globally
  • Distinguish key elements of effective policies for SCP
  • Discuss how can SCP be advanced in specific sectors and areas
  • Explain the role of consumers and individual choices for SCP
  • Identify global and regional initiatives that promote SCP

The course at a glance

  • Module 1: Introduction to SCP: Definition, Rationale and Fundamentals
  • Module 2: Designing and Implementing National SCP Policies and Action Plans
  • Module 3: Applying Policies for Sustainable Production: Addressing the Supply Side
  • Module 4: Applying Policies for Sustainable Consumption: Addressing the Demand Side
  • Module 5: International and Regional Collaboration to Achieve SCP

Patrick Mwesigye. Regional Coordinator, Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP), Regional Office for Africa, UN Environment

Alice Kaudia. Co-Founder and Executive Director, Eco entrepreneurs Ltd., Former Environment Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities, KENYA, and Co-Chair: Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP)

Jane Nyakang’o. Director, Kenya National Cleaner Production Centre (KNCPC) and President, African Round Table on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ARSCP)

Charles Arden-Clarke. Head, 10YFP Secretariat, Sustainable Lifestyles, Cities and Industry Branch, UN Environment

Dirk Wagener. Coordinator, Resource Efficiency & Sustainable Consumption and Production, UN Environment

Methodology

The course is adapted for adults and particularly suitable for anyone working (or interested in working) in the field of sustainability, climate change, resource efficiency, rural or urban development, community engagement, policy development, training and capacity development, or international cooperation.

Participants are provided with the opportunity to learn through various experiences: absorb (read and watch); interact (lessons), and reflect (quizzes and exercises).

To successfully complete the course and gain a certificate of completion, participants have to obtain a passing grade of 70% or above on all 5 assessment quizzes (3 attempts are allowed for each quiz).

Partners

Special thanks to the UN Environment and the SWITCH Africa Green project, funded by the European Parliament, for supporting the development and delivery of this course.