Scientists have long been concerned about how human activity drives climate, biodiversity and pollution. These are all linked to unsustainable production and consumption. Changes in consumption and production patterns can help decouple economic growth and human well-being from resource use and environmental impact.

Demand for materials will likely outpace efficiency gains in supply chains and overwhelm already stretched ecosystem services. Sustainable practices in the production phase of products and services will not provide sufficient responses to meet science-based emissions reduction targets, natural resource constraints or the growing demand for basic needs such as food, water and sanitation, and access to energy.

Fossil fuel subsidies continue to threaten the achievement of the Paris agreement. Specific problem areas such as electronic waste, plastic bags and bottles are visible to all and urgently need effective measures to tackle. Consumption patterns need to be made more sustainable, particularly lifestyles in industrialised societies and reduce their ecological footprint to allow for the regeneration of natural resources on which human life and biodiversity depend.

How can we pursue SDG12?

It is in the interest of businesses to find new solutions that enable sustainable consumption and production patterns. Find areas within the value chain where interventions have the maximum potential to improve the environmental and social impact of the system. Businesses can use their innovative power to design appropriate solutions that can enable and inspire individuals to lead more sustainable lifestyles, reducing impact and improving well-being.

  • Reduce manufacturing impacts by substituting virgin raw materials in products with post-consumer materials through recycling and upcycling. Buy second-hand or refurbished whenever you can.
  • Implement product portfolio analysis tools to understand their environmental and social footprint impacts on lifestyles and production.
  • Buy from companies that have sustainable practices and minimise harm to the environment.
  • Develop innovative business models, such as moving from selling products to selling services, to retain ownership of the products and help close the materials loop.
  • Enable sustainable consumption by developing innovative solutions to reduce energy needs and educate consumers about these benefits.
  • Shop, eat and drink locally by supporting neighbourhood businesses, keeping people employed and circulating money back into the local community.
  • Apply modular design, so products’ constituent parts will be easily separated and reused without further processing or recycled near the disposal point.
  • Significantly reduce waste and ensure that any unavoidable waste is disposed of safely or utilised.
  • Seek to reduce packaging.
  • Choose reusable products, such as an eco-bag for shopping, a reusable water bottle or a cup to reduce your plastic waste.
  • Reduce printing will paper and ink/toner consumption, and printer equipment. Develop business systems that do not require printed material.

Faith In Nature Case Study

Putting nature first since 1974

Founder of Faith In Nature, Rivka Rose, grew up in NYC but started the company in the UK in 1974. They manufacture and supply award-winning natural beauty products for hair, body, skin, baby and home care that are cruelty-free, recycled, recyclable, natural, vegan, ethical, sustainable, and biodegradable.

Faith In Nature started out as one of the UK’s original eco-brands, with a belief that business could and should try to be a force for good. Nearly 50 years on, its core belief remains the same. But faced with the scale of current environmental challenges facing the world, it recognised that more needs to be done and businesses need to think harder and more creatively about how they can play their part.

They recognised that they needed to give Nature a real voice within the business by apppointing it a director on their board - ensuring that every business decision we make takes into account the needs of the natural world. They have worked with leading environmental and corporate lawyers to turn this from an idea to reality. They officially amended their company constitution to make Nature a director, with the same voting rights as any other company director. Nature will be included in all future business decision-making.

Printwaste Case Study

A recycling business

The Robins brothers founded the family business Printwaste almost 40 years ago. Located in Cheltenham, they have three factories employing over 80 people engaged in the green economy of recycling and resource recovery.

Its mission is to inspire, educate and facilitate UK companies in achieving zero to landfill status by converting 100% of their waste streams into reusable products or resources. To make this possible, they are committed to providing a wide variety of storage solutions and collection vehicles. As part of their service, they also ensure confidential data compliance through safe and auditable data destruction techniques.

In 2022, Printwaste won the national award - "Paper Recycling Business of the Year".

SDG12 aims to "Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns".

It has associated aims that include:
  • Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.

  • Substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

  • Achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.

  • Ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.

  • Achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle.

  • Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production.

  • 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.

Purpose-led Leadership

QuoLux™ provide purpose-led leadership training programmes to enable leaders to align their businesses with Sustainable Development Goals.