Written by Lauren Smith - 22nd September 2021
A Guide to the United Nations SDGs
Goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
The UN Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs for short – You may have heard of them, or maybe you’ve seen the UN colour wheel logo – but what do they mean, and why are they important?
Each SDG aims to address a specific and critical issue for humanity and our planet and at Social Stories Club we aim to support all 17 goals by the end of 2022. Last month we started this blog series as a way to look at each of the goals we directly support and share the amazing stories of our social venture partners who are working on these issues.
This month, we take our inspiration from Recycle Week - which this year sees a strong focus on the climate crisis. We will be focusing on Goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production - and looking at why this is so important, what we as businesses and consumers can do to help and of course our social venture partners who are tackling these problems right now.
Quick reminder – What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
The 2030 Agenda was adopted in 2015 by all UN Member States and describes an ambitious strategy to stimulate action in areas of critical importance. At the centre of this strategy are the 17 SDGs and each of these goals represents the issues that matter most and will bring about peace and prosperity to humanity and the planet.
Goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
The last century has seen some huge economic and social progress but this has also put extreme pressure on our environment. From food waste to manufacturing and plastic consumption, plans are now needed to reverse these trends and get our consumption and production patterns onto a more sustainable course.
Find out more on the UN Sustainable Goals website
What needs to change?
Some simple changes could bring about huge social and environmental change. For example, we currently lose 13.8% of our food after harvesting and during transport, storage, and processing alone, costing over $400 billion a year! By increasing the efficiency of these systems we could not only lower production costs but also reduce the amount of food being lost which would have a massive impact on environmental sustainability.
Did you know – 1 million plastic water bottles are purchased every minute
Plastic consumption is also a huge polluter to our environment and we are currently polluting water faster than nature can purify it. The textile industry is the second largest polluter of clean water after agriculture so making more informed decisions as consumers would help massively and in turn put more pressure on businesses to adopt more sustainable practices.
How we can help as consumers
1. Reduce our waste – we can easily reduce our plastic consumption by carrying reusable bags, using reusable water bottles, straws, cutlery, and food containers.
2. Be mindful about what we buy and choose more sustainable options wherever possible.
How we can help as businesses
1. Have open conversations with your staff or offer extra training so there is a better understanding of the environmental and social impacts of the products your business needs/uses or produces.
2. Identify “hot spots” within the chain where interventions would have the greatest impact.
*We recently wrote a blog post on our Top 5 Tips To Make Your Office More Sustainable if you would like to discover more sustainable ideas.
Have we made any progress? From 2017 to 2019, 79 countries and the European Union reported at least one policy to promote Sustainable Consumption and Production.
Our Social Venture Partners working towards Goal 12
Island Bakery produces delicious organic biscuits baked entirely from renewable energy sources. Electricity for the building is generated both by a hydroelectric turbine on the Tobermory river and a single wind turbine set on a hill above the bakery. Their unique ovens are heated using local wood chips from Mull’s timber plantations. Not only is this environmentally sustainable but the gentle heat gives the biscuits a slow and perfect bake.
Rubies in the Rubble
Rubies in the Rubble are an award-winning sustainable food brand that makes delicious condiments including ketchup, mayo, and relish. Their products are made using fruit and veg that would otherwise go to waste simply for being the wrong size, shape, or colour. Founder Jenny began rescuing produce from the New Covent Garden market and experimenting with childhood recipes. Fast-forward 10 years and Rubies in the Rubble has an award-winning range and is stocked worldwide.
VENT for Change
VENT for Change is a UK-based sustainable stationery brand that protects the planet and supports education projects around the world. Their full range is made from recycled or sustainable materials, from pens and pencils made from recycled cd cases, recycled paper notebooks.
You can find Island Bakery, Rubies in the Rubble and VENT for change products in our shop
We can highly recommend https://sdgs.un.org/goals as a fantastic resource for learning more about the individual goals and the actions being made.
Next month, we will be looking closely at another SDG and how we and our social venture partners are making a difference. We hope you found this blog post helpful but if you have any more questions please do reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find the first blog post in this series here.