Empowering communities with sustainable production and consumption practices, particularly for water, food and energy is fundamental to the UNs ambition of a sustainable future for all.

Whilst there has been significant economic and technological progress over the past decades, it has come at a cost. Mining and agricultural processes have caused soil fertility to decline as well as contaminating water sources around the globe. The oceans have also been severely impacted both from overfishing and incorrect waste management procedures, and this continues to severely decrease our ecosystems’ ability to supply food. Additionally, energy consumption remains an area in critical need of reform. If people worldwide switched to energy efficient light bulbs the world would save US $120 billion annually*.

Sadly, humans are polluting lakes and rivers at such a devastating rate that the natural recycling and purifying processes of these waters is unable to respond effectively*. Combine this threat with the fact that water consumption has been steadily increasing by 1% since the 1980’s and this becomes an issue in need of immediate action*.

These are just a few of the ongoing issues that highlight the importance of conducting responsible production and consumption practices. As a result, the UN strives to inform people everywhere of these issues and promote initiatives like SDG 12 which aim to enable the sustainable development of lifestyles in harmony with nature and give way to sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources**. Indeed, informing and striving to create a more environmentally conscious world will be instrumental in tackling climate change and preserving crucial resources.

How businesses can assist with SDG 12:

Firms can develop their own initiatives and practices to build a much-needed community presence in creating and developing innovations that offer solutions for environmental and social problems. Fostering a better understanding of long-term sustainability and its practices improves community awareness and promptly stymies the consumption of products and services that damage society.

By pinpointing certain areas in supply chains and targeting those areas maximises efforts that improve inefficient and unsustainable consumption and production. On a smaller scale, within offices or workspaces, simply reducing one’s waste and becoming more thoughtful about what products and services you choose to consume can go a long way. By selecting sustainable options individuals equip themselves with an enormous potential to inspire others to act in a similar way, resulting in a real difference being made, promoting a better future.

* https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-consumption-production/

** https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030-goal12.html

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