31 May 2019

SDG of the Month: SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Did you know that 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute and then discarded? One-third of all food produced is lost, wasted, or spoiled? Or that the fashion industry is the second highest user of water worldwide and the meat industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the world’s biggest oil companies?

During the month of June in the context of World Environment Day, World Oceans Day and World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought the United Nations will focus on SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. By 2025, we could be dealing with up to 250 million tons of mismanaged waste – that's almost equivalent to the weight of 2,000 cargo ships. Should the global population reach 9.6 billion by 2050 (a conservative estimate), the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles.

As we highlight Goal 12, we look at key initiatives launched by the United Nations System to help people reduce their ecological footprint. One of these initiatives is the ActNow campaign. The ActNow campaign is a global call to citizen action on climate change, driven by a chatbot, an interactive tool that recommends everyday actions to reduce our carbon footprints. So far, more than 120,000 actions have been logged by individuals around the world. The campaign breaks new ground – not only through the first-ever use by the UN Department of Global Communications of interactive AI technology, but also in pushing beyond online “clicktivism” to trigger concrete actions, spur behavior changes, and help generate political leverage. 

Another highlight of this month will be the International Soil Congress 2019, which will take place in will take place on 17–19 June in Ankara, Turkey. The forum will bring together stakeholders to analyze the current and future trends of soil and land resources, establish new policies based on the principles of land degradation neutrality and create a universal message for the sustainable use of soil and land resources.

Air pollution, the focus for World Environment Day 2019, is a call to action to combat one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time. Chosen by this year’s host, China, the theme of World Environment Day 2019 invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the amount of air pollution we produce and thwart its contribution to global warming and its effects on our health. From 24 May and through 5 June the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) calls on everyone to join the Mask Challenge on social media to show leaders we want to breathe clean air.

For more information about SDG 12, visit its website