GOAL 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

  • 12.1 Implement the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries
  • 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
  • 12.3 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
  • 12.4 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
  • 12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
  • 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
  • 12.8 By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
  • 12.a Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production
  • 12.b Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
  • 12.c 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

SDG Progress and Industry Notes

Progress

The 2018 Report of the Secretary-General on Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, notes that “Decoupling economic growth from resource use is one of the most critical and complex challenges facing humanity today. Doing so effectively will require policies that create a conducive environment for such change, social and physical infrastructure and markets, and a profound transformation of business practices along global value chains. fThe per capita “material footprint” of developing countries grew from 5 metric tons in 2000 to 9 metric tons in 2017, representing a significant improvement in the material standard of living. Most of the increase is attributed to a rise in the use of non-metallic minerals, pointing to growth in the areas of infrastructure and construction. fFor all types of materials, developed countries have at least double the per capita footprint of developing countries. In particular, the material footprint for fossil fuels is more than four times higher for developed than developing countries. fBy 2018, a total of 108 countries had national policies and initiatives relevant to sustainable consumption and production. fAccording to a recent report from KPMG, 93 per cent of the world’s 250 largest companies (in terms of revenue) are now reporting on sustainability, as are three quarters of the top 100 companies in 49 countries.

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• Decoupling economic growth from natural resource use is fundamental to sustainable development. Global figures, however, point to worsening trends:domestic material consumption (the total amount of natural resour ces used in economic processes) increased from 1.2 kg to 1.3 kg per unit of GDP from 2000 to 2010. Total domestic material consumption also rose during the same period — from 48.7 billion tons to 71.0 billion tons. The increase is due in part to rising natural resource use worldwide, in particular in Eastern Asia.

• Countries continue to address challenges linked to air, soil and water pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals under the auspices of multilateral environmental agreements. Almost all States Members of the United Nations are party to at least one of those conventions. Under the conventions’ obligations, countries are requested to regularly report data and information related to hazardous wastes, persistent organic pollutants and ozone depleting substances. However, from 2010 to 2014, only 57 per cent of the parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, 71 per cent of the parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and 51 per cent of the parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants provided the requested data and information. All parties reported to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.”

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Goal 12 will be reviewed during the 2018 HLPF.

Industry Notes

Current and projected rates of material consumption are simply not sustainable. The impact of rising consumption coupled with the projected growth of the middle class in developing countries will require even more resources. According to WRI, “[i]f consumption continues at its current rate, we’ll need three times as many natural resources by 2050 compared to what we used in 2000.” See http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/07/apparel-industrys-environmental-impact-6-graphics

“The current global apparel market is estimated at $1.7 trillion which forms approximately 2 per cent of the world GDP of $73.5 trillion. Apparel consumption in top 8 economies constitutes approximately 70 per cent of the global consumption.” 

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In addition to resource and manufacturing efficiences and more sustainable inputs such as preferred fibers and materials, the Apparel and Textile Industry is testing out more circular models with some success. But changing consumer behavior will also be a large component of the solution to lowering consumption patterns. To learn more, see resources under SDG 9 and SDG 12.

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