In our fast-paced world, consumption patterns profoundly impact the planet. The constant quest for progress and economic growth has often come at the cost of environmental degradation and resource depletion. The United Nations recognizes the urgent need to address this issue and established Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG 12) as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
SDG 12 emphasizes promoting sustainable practices in producing and consuming goods and services. On average, governments have raised their natural capital by 26.8 percent since the mid-1990s. However, there are still many countries where economic growth is obtained at the cost of depleting natural resources.
Between 2000 and 2019, there was a significant global increase in domestic material consumption (DMC). This refers to the total quantity of materials an economy utilizes to fulfill the demand for goods and services, both from within the country and internationally.
SDG 12 calls for implementing a 10-year framework of programs on sustainable consumption and production. This initiative encourages countries, mainly developed ones, to lead the way in adopting sustainable practices. By improving resource efficiency, minimizing waste generation and embracing cleaner technologies, industries can significantly reduce their environmental footprint while ensuring economic growth.
A key target under SDG 12 is halving global food wastage and decreasing losses across the production and supply chain. This goal recognizes the ironic situation where millions suffer from hunger while food is wasted. 13.3% of food is wasted every day in every country, after harvesting and before it reaches the retail markets. At the same time, 17% of total food is lost globally at the consumer level in our homes, restaurants and grocery stores.
Food waste is a pressing concern that SDG 12 seeks to tackle. One such firm is Hindustan Unilever which aims to halve food waste in its global direct operations by 2025 through its Future Foods initiative. This commitment is part of the Unilever Compass and their Climate Transition Action Plan. Since reducing food waste will also help to reduce Green House emissions. They aim to send no food waste to landfills and ensure no good food is destroyed.
Through the Future Foods initiative, they are ramping up plant-based meat and dairy alternatives and have set ambitious nutrition commitments.
The goal also addresses the management of electronics throughout their life cycle. According to data from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, India recycled 32.9 percent of the e-waste generated from 2021 to 2022. Effectively managing e-waste requires a combination of government policies, industry initiatives, public awareness campaigns, and international cooperation.
Imagine Marketing Ltd (BoAt) has joined hands with an e-waste recycler, Namo E-waste Management Ltd, to channel E-Waste collected from PAN India. BoAt is actively engaged in the field of responsible disposal of electronic waste. This is evident through their local and global regulations concerning the handling and storage of specific Electrical and Electronic Equipment.
By prioritizing renewable energy sources, optimizing water consumption, and minimizing fossil fuel extraction, we can safeguard the planet for future generations. By adopting social and environmental responsibilities, businesses can contribute to the transition towards more sustainable practices, benefiting the earth and their bottom line.
NIKE aims to achieve a 10% waste reduction per unit in manufacturing, distribution, headquarters and packaging through improved design and operational efficiency. Apart from this, one of their initiatives focuses on 100% of waste diversion from landfill in their extended supply chain. With at least 80% recycled back into NIKE products and other goods.
SDG 12 is a powerful reminder of the urgency to transform our consumption and production patterns. By embracing responsible practices, we can ensure a more sustainable future. From reducing food waste and managing resources efficiently to promoting sustainable business models and empowering individuals as conscious consumers, SDG 12 offers a roadmap toward a more sustainable and equitable world. Let us work towards a sustainable future where responsible consumption and production are our progress’s foundation.