SDGs Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production

“Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns” United Nations

A few facts to get us started (taken from UN Org):

  • 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
  • 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year while almost 1 billion people go undernourished and another 1 billion hungry
  • More than 1 billion people still do not have access to fresh water

The main issue here, as you can see from the facts above, is waste.  We waste food, energy and water and if we were able to put a stop to this waste it would go a great way to feeding those who are starving and without water to drink, and the money saved from energy waste could go to helping prevent the issues the developing world are facing.


The other problem is our appetite for consumption.  In the developing world we want more and more all the time and this is using up our world resources faster than it can replenish them.  Water pollution is taking place at such a high rate that nature cannot replenish and purify fast enough.  Food waste is epic.  I was staggered to read that we waste 1.3 billion tonnes of food whilst 1 billion go undernourished and ANOTHER (not even the same) 1 million go hungry.

Whilst the UN has set out its targets to improve this situation this is a goal that we can all quite easily start doing our bit to help.  Really think about your waste each week-maybe buy a little less, maybe get creative in the kitchen to use up those left overs.  As for energy, make sure lights and sockets are switched off and most importantly invest in energy saving light bulbs.  They do cost more but they last a couple of years and as you can see from the statistics above this will make such a massive saving on our resources, a saving that can be spent in much better ways.

A thought that has really played on my mind as I wrote this is that I am always telling my children off for how expectant they are.  They are always wanting something, whether its a toy in Tesco as we do the weekly shop or if its the fifteenth snack of the day they are asking for, but its always something.  My response to this is irritation and annoyance-why must they expect so much?  How have I managed to spoil them so much without even meaning to?  But this evening I have realised that its not because they are spoilt, its because they live in a home where our cupboards are stocked (most of the time, I can be a bit hit and miss with getting to Tescos on time!) and water comes rushing out of the taps whenever they want i.  And lets face it, if I want a snack, a cup of tea, a piece of cake or a new Bobbi Brown treat, then I just get it.  We live in a society where it is so easy to have what we want, when we want.  They watch all of this, they see all of this and they copy all of this.  So, a big challenge with this goal is not just to reduce our waste but to exercise a little more restraint ourselves and to teach our kids why we need to do the too.



1. 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
2. By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
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
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
5. By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
6. Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
7. Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
8. By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
9. Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production
10. Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
11. 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

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