Responsible Consumption & Production

UN DEVELOPMENT SUSTAINABLE GOAL: 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.

For decades, scientists have been explaining the ways in which humanity is driving the three planetary crises of climate, biodiversity and pollution, all of which are linked to unsustainable production and consumption. Changes in consumption and production patterns can help to promote the decoupling of economic growth and human well-being from resource use and environmental impact. They can also trigger the transformations envisaged in global commitments on biodiversity, the climate, and sustainable development in general. The COVID-19 pandemic provides a window of opportunity for exploring more inclusive and equitable development models that are underpinned by sustainable consumption and production.

From 2017 to 2020, 83 countries, territories and the European Union shared information on their contribution to the implementation of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns. In 2020, 136 policies and 27 implementation activities were reported, bringing the total number to over 700. While specific actions have been taken to improve resource use efficiency in a specific industry or area, this has not resulted in their widespread adoption across sectors and industries.

Data indicate a rise of almost 40 per cent in the global material footprint per capita, from 8.8 metric tons in 2000 to 12.2 metric tons in 2017. Similarly, domestic material consumption per capita increased by more than 40 per cent, from 8.7 metric tons in 2000 to 12.2 metric tons in 2017.

Although limited data are available, as of 2016, almost 14 per cent of food produced globally was lost before reaching the retail sector. Estimates vary across regions, from 20.7 per cent in Central and Southern Asia to 5.8 per cent in Australia and New Zealand.

In 2019, the amount of e-waste generated was 7.3 kg per capita, with only 1.7 kg per capita documented to be managed in an environmentally sustainable manner. E-waste generation is expected to grow by 0.16 kg per capita annually to reach 9 kg per capita in 2030. The annual rate of growth in e-waste recycling over the past decade was 0.05 kg per capita, which will need to increase more than tenfold if all e-waste is to be recycled by 2030.

A pilot review conducted in 2020 on a random sample of about 4,000 companies in the United Nations Global Compact database and the Sustainability Disclosure database of the Global Reporting Initiative indicates that 85 per cent of companies reported on minimum requirements for sustainability issues and 40 per cent on advanced requirements for such issues.

As of December 2020, 40 countries and territories had reported on sustainable public procurement policies and action plans or equivalent legal dispositions aimed at encouraging the procurement of environmentally sound, energy-efficient products and promoting more socially responsible purchasing practices and sustainable supply chains.

Fossil fuel subsidies declined in 2019 to $431.6 billion as a result of lower fuel prices, reversing the upward trend from 2017 to 2018. Fossil fuel subsidies are expected to fall sharply owing to the collapse in demand caused by COVID-19 mitigation efforts and the oil price shock experienced in 2020.


UN Sustainable Development Goals

Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals – E/2021/58

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