How business leadership can advance Goal 12 on Responsible Consumption & Production
Responsible consumption and production is fundamental to sustainable development. Thus far, economic growth has been deeply connected to unsustainable outcomes including the degradation of natural capital, the advance of climate change, and violations of human rights. For example, unsustainable consumption and production has, to differing extents around the world, caused greenhouse gas emissions to surge, contributed to severe air pollution, decreased agricultural productivity threatening livelihoods and social cohesion, and heightened water scarcity. Waste production has led to burgeoning landfills with large methane emissions and negative health impacts as well as serious plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. Food production and consumption is also one of the primary causes of biodiversity loss through habitat degradation, overexploitation of fish, pollution, and soil loss.
As producers of much of the world’s output, businesses have a central role to play in advancing responsible production and consumption. They can manage sustainability of their own operations by improving efficiencies, look to source more sustainable inputs, improve the sustainability of products and services at the point of use with credible sustainability information, report publicly on their sustainability performance and that of their supply chain, and take steps to ensure their products are not misused to violate human rights.