By Ayotomiwa Oladotun
From the moment the sustainable development goals (SDGs) popped up at the United Nations Conference at Rio de Janeiro in 2012 to replace the millennium development goals (MDGs); it was only a matter of time before positive and environmental friendly practices and changes started getting noticed. The MDGs, for fifteen years, made considerable progress in tackling poverty and diseases including water-borne and sexually transmitted diseases all around the world but mostly in developing countries. They also reduced child and maternal mortality due to preventable disease while also improving the quality of primary education for children and young adults.
The SDGs, comprising 17 major goals in total, aim at finishing off the huge strides accomplished by the MDGs. This article aims to explain briefly the twelfth sustainable development goal—Responsible consumption and production-- highlighting the key features, benefits and other crucial points to take note of.
Responsible consumption and production
The twelfth development goal—with eleven targets and thirteen indicators—as explained by the United Nations, generally aims at enhancing adequate management of resources and energy; whilst still providing the best output. It promotes access to basic services, eco-friendly jobs and overall a better quality of life.
According to the United Nations:
About 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted year in year out, while up to two billion people lack adequate nutrition.
22% of the total greenhouse gas emissions emerge from the food sector.
About two billion people are overweight or obese.
Only a meagre 3% of earth’s total water is drinkable and the world is consuming faster than nature keep up with.
If everyone in the world would use energy-saving light bulbs, the world would save a whopping $120billion.
Aims and Objectives
In clearer terms, the twelfth development goal has the 12 targets and here are some of them:
Sustainable production and consumption: The UN would have every country—especially the developing ones -- implementing the sustainable production and consumption agenda by 2030.
Management of natural resources: aims to curtail the waste of natural resources in ten years. This would be achieved by implementing the material footprint policy—a measure of how much natural materials a country needs to meet her consumption.
Halve global food waste: to drastically reduce food waste by 2030.
Proper chemical and waste management: promoting eco-friendly waste disposal practices.
Waste recycling: facilitating green practices and encouraging recycling of household and company wastes.
It goes without saying that the human practices over the past decades, especially since the first industrial revolution, have caused damage to nature in no small way. This is evidenced by the enormous waste materials generated daily, poor disposal practices, plastic pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and a host of others. Responsible consumption and production would drastically reduce our poor ecological footprints and overall make the planet more habitable for all life forms.
Food and Health
The goal aims at promoting proper resource management whilst reducing health risks associated with excessive food consumption. About two billion people are above the upper limit of the body mass index; i.e. they are overweight or obese—a condition that has been shown as a risk factor for various diseases. Proper food production and consumption works to provide adequate nutrition and decrease preventable health hazards.
This sustainable goal, when implemented, would ensure sufficient energy use while cutting out excesses. This would in turn boost the world’s revenue, enabling it to tackle other important issues. It would also promote climate-friendly practices; overall improving the quality of life.
Responsible consumption and production is, without doubt, a game changer. If implemented successfully by 2030, it would turn the world around for good.
Thank you for reading!