14 January 2019

#SDGsinAcademia: SDG Hub for Goal 12

As part of the ongoing campaign on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) carried out by the United Nations, the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) series #SDGSinAcademia profiles the new SDG Hubs for each one of the Goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

14 January 2019 - This week our #SDGsinAcademia series features the Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), a member institution of United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), that has been chosen as the SDG Hub for Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

About the Hub:

For nearly two centuries, the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) has been a leader in the academic, scientific and social life of Argentina. The university is committed to freedom, participation and science and believes that social inclusion must be a key element of higher education.

The School of Commerce was founded in 1890, focused on math and international trade.  Today, the Faculty of Economic Sciences offers a wide range of undergraduate programs in accounting, actuarial sciences, business administration, economics and information systems as well as dozens of graduate courses.   

What is this Hub doing about Goal 12?

UBA has been developing and promoting the the application of Environmental Accounting for more than fifteen years. This new approach encourages the recording of assets and natural resources in the financial statements of private companies or governments and the university and its students carry out research related to environmental accounting, sustainable development, climate change and renewable energies.  It has also implemented programs on campus promoting the separation of waste and recycling and environmental awareness in the community.

Recently, it proposed to the Argentine National Commission of Cooperation with UNESCO, the creation of a UNESCO Chair at the University of Buenos Aires, called "Environmental Accounting and Sustainable Management" and at the same time, the institution was selected to be financed by the Participation Program of UNESCO for the design and development of an environmental economic observatory for the city of Buenos Aires.

One of the many innovative initiatives relates to the ‘Festejos Responsables’ (Responsible Celebrations) campaign to create a cultural change by ending the practice of wasting food while celebrating commencements or graduations. About three 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.

Within the Faculty of Economic Sciences, the Center of Organizational Studies has conducted studies aimed at  exploring Argentinian citizens’ awareness and understanding of sustainable consumption and how they exercise their values in their shopping decisions. The Faculty has also promoted several courses, seminars and workshops on sustainable consumption from a Latin American perspective.

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The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 reviews progress in the third year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It has an overview that presents highlights of progress and remaining gaps for all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on the latest available data, and examines some of the interconnections across Goals and targets.

This is the overview provided in the Report about Goal 12:

Decoupling economic growth from resource use is one of the most critical and complex challenges facing humanity today. Doing so effectively will require policies that create a conducive environment for such change, social and physical infrastructure and markets, and a profound transformation of business practices along global value chains.

  • The per capita “material footprint” of developing countries grew from 5 metric tons in 2000 to 9 metric tons in 2017, representing a significant improvement in the material standard of living. Most of the increase is attributed to a rise in the use of non-metallic minerals, pointing to growth in the areas of infrastructure and construction.

  • For all types of materials, developed countries have at least double the per capita footprint of developing countries. In particular, the material footprint for fossil fuels is more than four times higher for developed than developing countries.

  • By 2018, a total of 108 countries had national policies and initiatives relevant to sustainable consumption and production.

  • According to a recent report from KPMG, 93 per cent of the world’s 250 largest companies (in terms of revenue) are now reporting on sustainability, as are three quarters of the top 100 companies in 49 countries.

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The following resources provide general information about the SDGs:

  • This is a comprehensive research guide from the UN Library in Geneva listing resources 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, geographical regions and by authors, to facilitate searchability. Each publication also has a short summary attached to it which helps with keyword searches.

  • This selection of tools is an initiative supported by UNDP, UN-HABITAT and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, which offers concept notes, papers, case studies, compilation of best practices and guides providing contextual and practical information about the SDGs.

  • This guide, entitled “Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals”, is intended for stakeholders and designed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to serve as an initial basis for implementing the SDGs.

  • SDSN also developed this guide, entitled “Getting Started with the SDGs in Universities”, to help universities, institutions of higher education and the academic sector in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to accelerate their contributions to the SDGs by providing practical guidance and examples to inspire further action.

You can learn more about the SDG Hubs at the UNAI website.  

Is your institution a member of UNAI and conducting activities and initiatives around Goal 12? Contact us at academicimpact@un.org to tell us about your work and let us connect your university with the SDG Hub! Working together we can make the 2030 Agenda a reality!