18 July 2018

#SDGsinAcademia: Goal 12

As part of the ongoing campaign on the Sustainable Development Goals carried out by the United Nations, United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) is presenting a weekly series of articles on #SDGSinAcademia that highlights the importance of higher education in achieving the Goals. Featuring additional sources for use by faculty and students alike, this series is intended to inspire action on the SDGs and showcase activities and initiatives of UNAI member institutions.

19 July 2018 - This week we are featuring in our #SDGsinAcademia series Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns


  • 12.1 Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries.
  • 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
  • 12.3 By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.
  • 12.4 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 to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.
  • 12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.
  • 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.
  • 12.7 Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities.
  • 12.8 By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature. 
  • 12.A Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production. 
  • 12.B Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.
  • 12.C Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities.

What are UNAI member institutions doing about Goal 12? Here are some examples:

The State University of New York - Korea (Republic of Korea) through the initiative of Doctor Mark D. Whitaker, from the Department of Technology and Society, has developed Commodity Ecology aimed to foster social, economic, and environmentally sound development. It is an ongoing self-maintained tool for facilitating regional collaboration between consumers and producers and originated as a way to measure progress toward sustainability. To read a short article about this click here.

The Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (Venezuela) through its Direction of Environmental Sustainability, promoted in May a special recycling session during during the whole month to collect plastic and paper and also aimed to create awareness among staff, faculty and students about the importance of reusing waste and protecting the environment. Collected plastic (30% of the total used on campus) and paper (125 kg / 275 lb) was delivered to specialized recycling companies. 

The Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina) created the Festejos Responsables (Responsible Celebrations) campaign in order to create a 'cultural change' by ending the practice of wasting food while celebrating commencements or graduations. About 3 and a half tons of food have been collected and donated to civil society organizations dedicated to address the needs of vulnerable groups and underprivileged communities, as well as soup kitchens and schools.

The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain) will hold in November the 'Green Week' which will be a time dedicated to bringing awareness around being a responsible consumer, the positive impacts of recycling and learning about sustainable agricultural practices. Several lectures on key sustainable topics are being organized alongside interactive sessions with the students and the university community and a photography contest using social media channels.

Newcastle University (United Kingdom) organized in June the 'Seminar on SDG12 Responsible Consumption and Production' aimed to gather researchers and practitioners alike to share ideas and promote research collaboration. The seminar focused on elements of consumption and production and explore how research can contribute towards achieving SDG 12. Among the participants were academics and also representatives from civil society organizations.

The University of Aberdeen (United Kingdom) has implemented the 'Able' campaign, which is a campus wide and visible presence designed to support institutional efforts to reduce the institution's environmental impact and carbon footprint, and to help transform policy into action. It aims to engage staff and students at the university by raising awareness sharing simple steps, memorable messages and eye-catching materials that individuals can use or act upon.

The University of Mauritius (Mauritius), through its Faculty of Agriculture and following an experts' conference on the topics, is leading the 'Food Loss and Waste Reduction and Recover' initiative scheduled over one year (February 2018 to March 2019) with the aim of creating national awareness on food loss and food waste reduction and recovery among all stakeholders along the agri-food value chain, with create activities and actions and innovative major projects.

Monash University (Australia) offers a Master's programme of International Sustainable Tourism Management that addresses tourism’s potential to be compatible with the achievement of a range of objectives, including developing sustainable tourism practices. It facilitates the development of skills and techniques to develop tourism policies and practices in a global setting and to manage tourism development and enterprises in the sustainable direction.

Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) has developed the 'Victoria University Sustainability Guide' intended to reduce the institution’s environmental footprint. It contains a whole section dedicated to show concrete and very specific actions to reduce waste by up to 80% by implementing steps such as waste minimisation, recycling, reusing and composting organic waste. Per official figures, the university sends 496,000 kg (more than 1,000,000 lb) of waste to landfill each year.

Pomona College (United States) through a student's initiative and with the support of the Office of Sustainability, is implementing a zero-waste event model for the college’s commencement or graduation ceremonies and receptions. An event is deemed 'zero-waste' when organizers plan ahead to reduce solid waste, reuse some event elements in future years and set up compost and recycling stations in order to divert at least 90% of waste from landfills.

The University of Manitoba (Canada) is promoting multi-disciplinary research on synergizing fertilizer micro-dosing and under-utilized indigenous vegetables innovations in order to enhance food and economic security of farmers in the West African sub region. Poor soil fertility and land degradation are particularly acute in Sub-Saharan Africa, resulting in low quality food production and especially low production of indigenous vegetables. 

Here you can take a look to a selection of the Activity Reports submitted by UNAI member institutions.


The following resources can help improving your knowledge and understanding about Goal 12 in particular and also about the SDGs in general:

  • This is a comprehensive research guide made by the United Nations Library in Geneva listing resources about the SDGs in general and about each one of the Goals, including books and articles (some of which are fully available on line free of charge), UN documents such as resolutions and reports and additional resources.
  • The SDG Fund has created this online library featuring over 1,000 online publications. The publications are categorized by the Goals they represent, by geographical regions they relate to and by authors, to facilitate easy searchability. Each publication also has a short summary attached to it which helps with keyword searches.
  • This is an initiative supported by UNDP, UN-HABITAT and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, which offers a selection of tools such as concept notes, papers, case studies, compilation of best practices and guides providing contextual and practical information about the SDGs.
  • This is a guide entitled Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals intended for stakeholders and designed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to serve as an initial basis for implementing the SDGs.
  • This guide entitled Getting Started with the SDGs in Universities was also developed by the SDSN to help universities, higher education institutions and the academic sector in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to accelerate their contributions to the SDGs highlighting the important role universities have in implementing the SDGs through their teaching, research, operations and leadership, and providing practical guidance and examples to inspire further action.
  • This guide entitled Sustainable Development Goals - Human Response Alignments features the human element of change and the human response corresponding to each of the SDGs in order to quicken the global conversation about vital issues and to encourage the movement that supports the vision of the SDGs.

Fostering sustainable economic growth, transformation and promoting sustainable consumption and production

Fostering sustainable economic growth, transformation and promoting sustainable consumption and production
United Nations - "Fostering Sustainable Economic Growth, Transformation and Promoting Sustainable Consumption and Production" is part of a UN short film series "The Story You are Shaping" produced by HUMAN, which premiered at the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015.