Responsible Consumption and Production

In this chapter we will be exploring the important SDG of responsible consumption and production. This goal focuses on encouraging sustainable consumption and production patterns, reducing waste and pollution, and promoting resource efficiency. By making conscious choices in our daily lives, we can contribute to a better world for ourselves and future generations.


As individuals, we all have the power to make a difference through our choices and actions. In this chapter, we will explore practical steps we can take to promote responsible consumption and production in our own lives and communities. We hope to inspire and empower you to take action towards creating a more sustainable and just world.

What is SDG 12

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production is not just a goal, it’s a way of life. It’s about recognizing that every single one of us has the power to make a difference. By making responsible choices, we can promote sustainable development and create a brighter future for ourselves and generations to come.

But the impact of responsible consumption and production goes beyond just being environmentally conscious. It also means considering the social and economic implications of our choices, such as supporting fair trade and ethical labor practices. By embracing responsible consumption and production, we can make a positive impact on both the planet and the people who inhabit it.

This goal is crucial in achieving a sustainable world. It addresses issues such as waste reduction, efficient use of resources, and sustainable production practices. Achieving SDG 12 also has positive impacts on other goals, such as eradicating poverty, improving health and well-being, and promoting sustainable cities and communities.

But we can’t achieve this goal alone. It requires collective action from individuals, communities, businesses, and governments. As individuals, we can make responsible choices in our daily lives, from choosing sustainable products to reducing our waste. As communities, we can work together to create sustainable systems for production and consumption. And as businesses and governments, we can implement policies and initiatives that promote responsible consumption and production.

Key concepts


Responsible consumption and production are key to ensuring that our planet can sustainably support the needs of present and future generations. The concepts of waste reduction, sustainable production, and sustainable consumption are essential in achieving SDG 12.

Waste reduction involves minimizing the amount of waste generated and maximizing resource efficiency. It is about doing more with less, using resources wisely and reducing the impact of consumption on the environment. This can be achieved through practices such as recycling, upcycling, composting, and using reusable items.

Sustainable production involves ensuring that goods and services are produced in a way that minimizes negative environmental impacts and promotes social responsibility. This includes using renewable resources, reducing carbon emissions, and ensuring that workers are treated fairly.

Sustainable consumption, on the other hand, involves making informed choices about what we buy and how we use it. It means purchasing products that have a lower environmental impact, and using resources wisely to reduce our carbon footprint. For example, we can choose to buy products made from sustainable materials, reduce our energy use, and choose public transportation or carpooling instead of driving alone.

Circular economy is an economic system that aims to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them and minimizing waste. It involves designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems. The concept is based on three principles: reduce, reuse, and recycle.

To achieve responsible consumption and production, it is important to work together as a global community. Governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and individuals all have a role to play in promoting sustainable practices. Many organizations around the world have already taken action to promote responsible consumption and production. For example, some companies have implemented circular economy models, in which resources are kept in use for as long as possible, and waste is minimized. Other initiatives include promoting sustainable agriculture practices, reducing food waste, and increasing the use of renewable energy sources.

Taking action

Now that we understand the importance of responsible consumption and production, it’s time to take action! The good news is that even small changes in our daily lives can make a big impact in achieving SDG 12.

Here are some practical tips and advice for individuals to promote responsible consumption and production:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Start with the basics! This simple mantra can help reduce the amount of waste we generate. Try to reduce your consumption of single-use plastics and other materials that are difficult to recycle. Instead, opt for reusable alternatives.

Choose Sustainable Products

Look for eco-friendly and sustainably sourced products when shopping. This includes clothing, electronics, food and household items. Sustainable production methods often use less energy, water and other resources, and produce less waste and pollution.

Eat Sustainably

Our food choices have a significant impact on the environment. Choose foods that are sustainably produced and locally sourced. Try to reduce your meat consumption, as animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Support Sustainable Businesses

Choose to support businesses that prioritize sustainability in their practices. This can include companies that use renewable energy, prioritize waste reduction and have transparent supply chains.

Advocate for Change

Get involved in local initiatives and campaigns that support responsible consumption and production. This can include advocating for policies and regulations that promote sustainable practices, and supporting businesses and organizations that prioritize sustainability.

Remember, individual actions are just the beginning. Collective action is also crucial for achieving SDG 12. Encourage your community, friends and family to join you in taking action towards responsible consumption and production. Together, we can make a difference!

Inspirational Practice: Circular Fashion Pledge

One inspiring initiative that has been implemented to promote responsible consumption and production is the “Circular Fashion Pledge” by the NGO Global Fashion Agenda. This pledge calls on fashion companies to commit to circularity principles, such as reducing waste and increasing the use of sustainable materials. By signing the pledge, companies can access tools and resources to help them transition towards circular practices.

The initiative has gained widespread support from major fashion brands, including H&M, Adidas, and Tommy Hilfiger, among others. By working towards more sustainable and circular practices, these companies are not only reducing their environmental impact but also improving their business practices and promoting positive social and economic outcomes.

To learn more about the Circular Fashion Pledge, visit the Global Fashion Agenda website:

Questions to consider:


What are some ways in which you can reduce your fashion waste?


How can you extend the life of your clothing?


Have you ever considered buying secondhand or vintage clothing? If not, would you be willing to give it a try?


What are some challenges you face in trying to adopt a more sustainable approach to fashion? How can you overcome them?


Can you think of any ways in which you can encourage others to join you in taking the circular fashion pledge?