Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production

Doing More with Less

To preserve our natural resources and to ensure a bright future, we need to address challenges regarding material consumption. We need to improve operational efficiencies to reduce waste and get the most out of finite resources.

What’s the Goal?

To ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Why Does it Matter?

A core truth of increasing global population and decreasing natural resource supply: if more efficient resource consumption doesn’t become a worldwide corporate priority, we’ll inevitably exhaust our supply of cost-effect reserves. Such resource exploitation neglects well-understood geologic and mineralogical data, and often comes at the expense of future generations and the environment.

Why Do We Need to Improve Consumption and Production Patterns?

Because of current lifestyles and habits, consumption is quickly growing beyond our means to provide for the global population. For instance, 1.3 billion tons of food is produced each year, but one-third of the food produced ends up rotting in market or grocery store bins or spoiling due to poor harvesting and packaging practices. Households use 29% of global energy and produce 21% of resulting CO2 emissions, contributing to air pollution. Water is also being polluted faster than nature can purify it in lakes and rivers. Some speculate that by 2050 the global population will be approximately 9.6 billion and would require the equivalent of three planets to sustain current lifestyles

Can We Achieve This Goal?

We can achieve this goal by resolving to do more with less. We need to educate consumers about the consequences of over-consumption and living an excessive lifestyle and the benefits to their health and the environment if they commit to sustainable consumption habits. Businesses should address their harvesting, production, transportation, and consumption practices to help decrease spoilage and waste.

How Can I Help?

As an individual, there are two primary ways you can help. First, commit to reducing your waste. Second, think about what you buy and purchase sustainable goods whenever you can.

Goal 12 Facts & Figures


The percent of water all of humanity must rely on for their needs. 3% of all the water on the planet is drinkable.

$120 billion

The amount of money that would be saved annually if people worldwide switched to energy-efficient light bulbs

2 billion

The number of people globally who are overweight or obese

Goal 12 Targets

  • By 2030, achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
  • By 2030, cut food waste in half at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food loss along production and supply chains.
  • By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.
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