Sustainability Exchange

Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production - how will your business contribute?

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SDG 12 is a key indicator for being able to make the transition towards a sustainable economy by producing goods in a more resource-efficient way, and encouraging consumers to buy, use and dispose of products in a responsible manner.

In this discussion we would like to hear your experiences and opinions on what needs to be done in global value chains to produce goods more efficiently and in a way that decouples economic growth from environmental degradation and social harm.

We are also keen to discuss ways to motivate consumers to make better choices, from education and outreach programs, to sustainability campaigns to nudging.

This discussion is moderated by Marcus Borley and Reidun Blehr Lankan, both senior advisors at the Ethical Trading Initiative in Norway. 

The moderated discussion starts on 27 September and will run for about a week, overlapping with the Trade for Sustainable Development Forum 2018 (1-3 October), which is dedicated to SDG12.  

Share your views, experiences, ask our moderators...and learn from other members of the SustainabilityXchange network!



September 24, 2018 21:43

My "business" is the work I do with Symrise, a German Flavors company who is committed to sustainable sourcing and "Bridging the Generation Gap in Farming"; we work extensively with smallholder farmer communities (in the Amazon, in Madagascar and Calabria, Italy as three examples) to strengthen economic resilience and encourage good agricultural practices.  That means increasing yield, productivity and quality WITHOUT harming the planet and contributing to positive social impact simultaneously.
We embrace SDG#17 in the way we partner with customers, suppliers, NGOs and government agencies. 

September 27, 2018 13:55

Thanks for your input Hamish - sounds like a really interesting concept, and one that definitely contributes to sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources (target 12.2) as well a building capacity for economic resilience and increasing social impact, which fall into a number of targets in other global goals, e.g. SDG 8.

Can you share some of your experience of working with the SDG framework - do you find it a useful framework for measuring and communicating impact, and does it motivate stakeholders? 

September 28, 2018 12:38

I use the SDG framework primarily as a connectivity tool, enabling us to put in simple terms the potential impact of a project.  In particular I start by agreeing with our prospective partners on what the "unsustainable problems" are and do this using the SDG framework to sharpen the focus and attention.  Thereafter once we have decided on the key overall Goals, we look at the indicators and targets behind the Goal in more detail.  In otherwise try NOT to redefine Sustainability all the time but look at the Goals to determine problems e.g. No Poverty and then discuss potential solution pathways e.g. strengthening farmer resilience, providing access to affordable finance, supporting farmers associations to organise themselves and to diversify crops to reduce dependency, etc.


September 28, 2018 14:34

Some of the sustainability issues in value chains are very sensitive at the same time, such as the problem of deforestation - where the national legal framework and the reality on the ground runs counter the demands of sustainability-minded global businesses, in turn often nudged by their clients/consumers. The issue of 'distribution of cost' along the entire value chain is a pervasive one on the ground - strenghtening, empowering the local stakeholders is paramount to mitigating some of the challenges in decoupling production from its possible negative effects.

That seems to be one of the key messages on which the speakers at the T4SD Forum 2018 in Geneva agree.

Follow #T4SDForum on Twitter and Facebook!

October 01, 2018 13:11

I'd agree with Petra's remarks above - one of our primary focus areas is ensuring that the smallholder farmers recognise that we are serious about defroestation, and indeed reforestation - it is about empowering the local actors to see the value for themselves, with a little positive encouragement through use of certification premiums that require that they follow good agroforestry practices.
In practice, of course the real villain is always poverty - I have seen this in Madagascar, Uganda, Ecuador and the Amazonian region of Brazil - where farmers have the choice between no money, hunger and lack of ability to provide for their families OR chopping down a precious hardwood tree and selling it, then I guess that any of us would make similar choices with similar negative consequences for the planet.


October 01, 2018 14:26

Hello, I am a French student working on environnement and social topics. I am now working on knowing how people consume gold. In fact, gold is a ressource that needs a lot of treatment and it pollutes a lot and can lead to environmental problem. Moreover, it is an controversial industry as regards workers and especially miners work conditions. They are often paid under the minimum wage and their social work are not respected (overwork, etc..).
Nowadays, labels such as Fairemined or Fairtrade for example, are working on developing responsible gold respecting the environment and social rights of all workers.
To get to know how are you aware towards responsible gold, in order to live in a better and brighter world,

Would you please consider to answer to a few questions on google form? It takes 2 or 3 mins only. And no name or email are requiered.

Here is the link :

I would love to hear back from you.

Thank you,

Vincent Giovannoni

October 04, 2018 17:06

Hi Vincent,

Thanks for your comment, and responsible production and consumption of gold, as well as other precious metals and minerals, is highly relevant. As gold has become a key commodity for a number of industries (although most of us visualise jewellry when we think of gold, this only accounts for 38% of gold use in the US, with the electronics and computer industry accounting for 34%), there are considerable environmental and social impacts associated with extracting and processing gold. Perhaps we will end up with a certification scheme, either through fairtrade, fairmined or other organisation. In addition, there are indications that we have already reached peak gold, thus forcing up the price of gold aleady in the market, as well as encouraging companies to take greater risks to extract gold deeper under ground (with the resulting additional environmental and social risks), or to find (more sustainable) alternatives. As you are studying this right now, we would be very interested to hear your views on solutions to the negative impacts associated with gold mining. Are there any best practice examples you could share with us?  Have you come across any innovation through your research in the area of responsible production and/or responsible consumption. What about circular models for recovering gold - is it the case that urban mining is far more efficient at extracting gold than through traditional mining - perhaps you could share your insights into this?

When it comes to answering your survey, this is not really the place for posting such requests, but I will leave it up to individual members to decide whether or not to answer. 

I wish the best of luck in your studies!


October 05, 2018 13:43