Unsustainable consumption and production don’t only come in the form of waste in our trash cans. There is a direct link to the increase of global pollution, degradation of biodiversity, and contribution to the crisis of climate change. The material footprint of the world countinues to grow to support its growing population and their needs. While economic growth is necessary, it’s important to push production of sustainable and recyclable materials to decrease the use of raw materials that end up in landfills. Another form of unsustainable consumption is the amount of e-waste generated each year, which is only expected to increase as the use of electronics continues to increase in developed countries.

Everything that humans consume can leave a negative or positive impact on the earth. We have a choice. Moving the needle on sustainable consumption and production allows for efficiency in productivity and ensures the planet can withstand our burden. In order to obtain this goal, we need to do more with less.

In the long run, sustainable practices and policies are imperative for the well-being of future generations on this planet we share. Meeting this goal will require profound modification in businesses sustainability practices across all sectors of the economy and global supply chains. Working universally toward maintaining a small material footprint is a common goal everyone who calls earth their home should be pushing for.

Targets & Indicators

When the UN General Assembly introduced the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, they listed the targets that needed to meet for each goal. These targets break down what needs to be achieved to consider the goal completed. The UN Statistical Commission created the IAEG (International Agency and Expert Group) in 2017, which was tasked with creating the “indicators” for each target. These indicators were created to put measures in place to track the process being made on each target.

Targets and indicators were developed by the UN as a working blueprint for nations, organizations, and people to use when implementing SDGs in their everyday actions. Looking to the targets for the respected goal is the best way to execute the use of them in your work.


Implement a 10-year framework of programs revolving around sustainable consumption and production with developed countries taking the lead.
  1. 12.1.1 Number of Countries Developing, Adopting, or Implementing Policy Instruments Aimed at Supporting the Shift to Sustainable Consumption and Production


By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
  1. 12.2.1 Material Footprint, Material Footprint per Capita, and Material Footprint per GDP
  2. 12.2.2 Domestic Material Consumption, Domestic Material Consumption per Capita, and Domestic Material Consumption per GDP


By 2030, reduce global food waste by half at the retail and consumer levels per capita and within production and supply chains.
  1. 12.3.1 Food Loss Index and Food Waste Index


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 into the air, water, and soil to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.
  1. 12.4.1 Number of Parties in International, Multilateral Environmental Agreements on Hazardous Waste and Other Chemicals That Meet Their Commitments and Obligations in Transmitting Information as Required by Each Relevant Agreement
  2. 12.4.2 Hazardous Waste Generated per Capita and Proportion of Hazardous Waste Treated by Type of Treatment


By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.
  1. 12.5.1 National Recycling Rate by Tons of Material Recycled


Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.
  1. 12.6.1 Number of Companies Publishing Sustainability Reports


Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable in accordance with national policies and priorities.
  1. 12.7.1 Degree of Sustainable Public Procurement Policies and Action Plan Implementation


By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness necessary for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.
  1. 12.8.1 Extent to Which Global Citizenship Education and Education for Sustainable Development Are Mainstreamed in National Education Policies; Curricula; Teacher Education; and Student Assessment


Support developing countries in strengthening their scientific and technological capacity to move toward more sustainable patterns of consumption and production.
  1. 12.a.1 Installed Renewable Energy-Generating Capacity in Developing Countries (in Watts per Capita)


Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.
  1. 12.b.1 Implementation of Standard Accounting Tools to Monitor the Economic and Environmental Aspects of Tourism Sustainability


Rationalize inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, restructuring taxation, and phasing out those harmful subsidies to reflect their environmental impacts. Also, minimize the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects vulnerable communities.
  1. 12.c.1 Amount of Fossil-Fuel Subsidies (Production and Consumption) per Unit of GDP

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