SDG 12, “Responsible consumption and production”: here is how Millennials can help achieve this Goal
Briefly, this is what Goal 12 is all about: “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”; which means that it wants us to think twice about the things we use and how we use them, and to be more mindful about the waste we create and how that impacts our planet. Both businesses and consumers will need to work together to change their choices and habits, in order to be able to successfully reach this goal. Because, as of right now, there are many aspects of consumption that will eventually cause a huge damage on society.
For example, each year about one third of all food produced, which is 1.3 billion tons (worth approximately $1 trillion), ends up rotting in the backdoor of consumers and retailers or spoiling due to inattentive transportation and harvesting practices; while there are another 1 billion people around the world who are going hungry. In 2011, 217 tons of textiles were dumped into landfills daily. And this is just a speck of the problem. Unfortunately, this is how consumption works today: when we don’t want something anymore, we toss it. And who cares what happens to it after that. Well, this mentality needs to change.
Goal 12 is not asking people to stop eating outside or shopping. It’s simply asking us to reconsider our consumption habits and become more aware of the consequences. And I’m sure that there are things that you, as a young consumer, can do to help address this issue:
- Follow the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle.
- Buy minimally packaged goods. For example, by buying items in bulk, such as detergents, rather than in individually packed items, you will help reduce waste.
- Don’t succumb to marketing strategies and don’t buy more food than what you actually need, especially perishable items.
- Stop using plastic bags and bring your own reusable bag when you shop.
- When you don’t want a piece of clothing anymore, give it to someone who needs it, like the homeless for example or sell it in a thrift shop; don’t throw it away. Also, you yourself can explore the thrift shop, instead of buying in a regular store.
- Support businesses that you know have sustainable practices in place.
These are all small steps, but taken as a whole they mean massive changes. Try taking a few of them onto you and see what difference that will make. Remember, the shift towards a responsible consumption is on us. And, if you’re already working towards more responsible consumption habits, join our competition here: https://goo.gl/5LUfP2.
Cover cartoon credit: Sergio Algeri/GYV