Achieving Goal 12 requires a strong national framework for sustainable consumption and production that is integrated into national and sectoral plans, sustainable business practices and consumer behaviour, together with adherence to international norms on the management of hazardous chemicals and wastes.
- Decoupling economic growth from natural resource use is fundamental to sustainable development. Global figures, however, point to worsening trends: domestic material consumption (the total amount of natural resour ces used in economic processes) increased from 1.2 kg to 1.3 kg per unit of GDP from 2000 to 2010. Total domestic material consumption also rose during the same period — from 48.7 billion tons to 71.0 billion tons. The increase is due in part to rising natural resource use worldwide, in particular in Eastern Asia.
- Countries continue to address challenges linked to air, soil and water pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals under the auspices of multilateral environmental agreements. Almost all States Members of the United Nations are party to at least one of those conventions. Under the conventions’ obligations, countries are requested to regularly report data and information related to hazardous wastes, persistent organic pollutants and ozone depleting substances. However, from 2010 to 2014, only 57 per cent of the parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, 71 per cent of the parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and 51 per cent of the parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants provided the requested data and information. All parties reported to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
Source: Report of the Secretary-General, "Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals", E/2017/66
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.
Source: Report of the Secretary-General, The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018
- Economic growth and development require the production of goods and services that improve the quality of life. Sustainable growth and development require minimizing the natural resources and toxic materials used, and the waste and pollutants generated, throughout the entire production and consumption process.
- Two measures, material footprint and domestic material consumption, provide an accounting of global material extraction and use, as well as flows or consumption of materials in countries. The material footprint reflects the amount of primary materials required to meet a country’s needs. It is an indicator of the material standard of living or level of capitalization of an economy. Domestic material consumption measures the amount of natural resources used in economic processes.
- In 2010, the total material footprint in developed regions was significantly higher than that of developing regions, 23.6 kg per unit of GDP versus 14.5 kg per unit of GDP, respectively. The material footprint of developing regions increased from 2000 to 2010, with non-metallic minerals showing the largest increase.
- Domestic material consumption in developed regions has diminished slightly, from 17.5 tonnes per capita in 2000 to 15.3 tonnes per capita in 2010. It remains significantly higher than the value for developing regions, which stood at 8.9 tonnes per capita in 2010. Domestic material consumption per capita increased in almost all developing regions from 2000 to 2010, except in Africa, where it remained relatively stable (around 4 tonnes per capita), and Oceania, where it decreased from around 10.7 to 7.7 tonnes per capita. The rise in domestic material consumption per capita in Asia during that period is primarily a result of rapid industrialization.
- The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants established international frameworks to achieve the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, chemicals and persistent organic pollutants. With six exceptions, all Member States are party to at least one of those conventions. The number of parties to those conventions rose significantly from 2005 to 2015, particularly in Africa and Oceania. There are now 183 parties to the Basel Convention, 180 to the Stockholm Convention and 155 to the Rotterdam Convention.