• Editorial

Responsible consumption and production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION?


Sustainable Development Goal 12 is about ensuring responsible and resource-efficient consumption and sustainable means of production.


WHY SHOULD WE PRODUCE AND CONSUME RESPONSIBLE?

Progress is unfortunately accompanied by environmental degradation that is threatening the survival of the planet. Global consumption and production depend on the use of natural resources, and therefore needs to be efficient. Domestic and commercial electricity consumption is the second fastest growing area of energy use in recent years, after transport.The food sector consumes around 30% of the world's energy and is responsible for 22% of total greenhouse gas emissions[1]. In this respect, organic products, which are grown using the best environmental and natural resource conservation practices, can help to reduce these figures. Furthermore, one third of all food produced in the world - some 1.3 billion tons per year - ends up in the rubbish bin, either because it is not consumed or because it spoils due to poor transport and harvesting practices[2]. At the current rate of growth, it will take three planets to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles by 2050, when there will be 9.6 billion people on Earth. Responsible production and consumption can also contribute to mitigating inequalities and a transition to a green economy. Therefore, urgent global action is needed to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. This is why the UN has established responsible consumption and production as SDG 12 of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in September 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda.


TARGETS

The specific targets set for 2030 are:

  • Halve food waste at retail and in production and supply chains.

  • Reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

  • Achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.

  • Achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle.

  • Promote sustainable public procurement practices.

  • Encourage companies, especially large ones, to adopt sustainable practices and incorporate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.

  • Help developing countries strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns.

  • Achieve sustainable tourism, which creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.

  • Rationalize fossil fuel subsidies

The global population is growing and natural resources are being unsustainably used which together can cause climate change, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, increased pollution, carbon emission, health risks, and unsustainable lifestyle. A huge amount of food gets lost in the supply chain. A great number of drinking plastic bottles and plastic bags are being thrown away. Electronic production and waste are becoming more. The toxic chemicals reach into the soil and water and put human and all livings at health risk. The increasing production and defective recycling systems cause the loss of valuable materials such as gold. The world is on an unsustainable and uneven track because of industrialization, developed countries’ outsourcing of materials, and the increase of domestic resource consumption. Despite the pandemic, the world is having great progress in using renewable energy instead of the traditional ones.

[1] United Nations. FAO. Article. Food systems account for more than one third of global greenhouse gas emissions. https://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1379373/icode/

[2] Ebd.