SDG 12: Responsible consumption, production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. Agriculture is the biggest user of water worldwide, and irrigation now claims close to 70 percent of all freshwater appropriated for human use.

 

The efficient management of our shared natural resources, and the way we dispose of toxic waste and pollutants, are important targets to achieve this goal. Encouraging industries, businesses and consumers to recycle and reduce waste is equally important, as is supporting developing countries to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption by 2030.

 

A large share of the world population is still consuming far too little to meet even their basic needs. Halving per capita global food waste at the retailer and consumer levels is also important for creating more efficient production and supply chains. This can help with food security and shift us towards a more resource efficient economy.

 

Responsible production and consumption is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

 

Facts and Figures

  • Each year, an estimated one third of all food produced – equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes worth around $1 trillion – ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices
  • If people worldwide switched to energy efficient lightbulbs the world would save US$120 billion annually
  • Should the global population reach 9.6 billion by 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles

Water

  • Less than 3 per cent of the world’s water is fresh (drinkable), of which 2.5 per cent is frozen in the Antarctica, Arctic and glaciers. Humanity must therefore rely on 0.5 per cent for all of man’s ecosystem’s and fresh water needs.
  • Man is polluting water faster than nature can recycle and purify water in rivers and lakes.
  • More than 1 billion people still do not have access to fresh water.
  • Excessive use of water contributes to the global water stress.
  • Water is free from nature but the infrastructure needed to deliver it is expensive.

Energy

  • Despite technological advances that have promoted energy efficiency gains, energy use in OECD countries will continue to grow another 35 per cent by 2020. Commercial and residential energy use is the second most rapidly growing area of global energy use after transport.
  • In 2002 the motor vehicle stock in OECD countries was 550 million vehicles (75 per cent of which were personal cars). A 32 per cent increase in vehicle ownership is expected by 2020. At the same time, motor vehicle kilometres are projected to increase by 40 per cent and global air travel is projected to triple in the same period.
  • Households consume 29 per cent of global energy and consequently contribute to 21 per cent of resultant CO2 emissions.
  • One-fifth of the world’s final energy consumption in 2013 was from renewables.

Food

  • While substantial environmental impacts from food occur in the production phase (agriculture, food processing), households influence these impacts through their dietary choices and habits. This consequently affects the environment through food-related energy consumption and waste generation.
  • 3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year while almost 1 billion people go undernourished and another 1 billion hungry.
  • Overconsumption of food is detrimental to our health and the environment.
  • 2 billion people globally are overweight or obese.
  • Land degradation, declining soil fertility, unsustainable water use, overfishing and marine environment degradation are all lessening the ability of the natural resource base to supply food.
  • The food sector accounts for around 30 per cent of the world’s total energy consumption and accounts for around 22 per cent of total Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Goal 12 Global targets

  • Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries
  • By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
  • By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses
  • By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
  • By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
  • Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
  • Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
  • By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
  • Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production
  • Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
  • Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities