Sustainable Consumption

Focus 14: Sustainable Consumption (Including Chemicals and Waste)


Promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns will be vital to have decent standard of living as well as addressing resource depletion and environmental sustainability. Industrialized societies and economies would lead a shift to sustainable consumption and production patterns, with other countries benefiting from their experience and know how. The 10-Year Framework of Programmes on SCP is the principal framework for international cooperation and will need to be adequately resourced. Some areas to be considered include:

  1. significantly improving energy efficiency and materials productivity;

  2. sustainable supply chains;

  3. preventing, reducing, recycling and reusing waste;

  4. reducing waste in food production and consumption, including through traditional knowledge;

  5. sound management of chemicals and hazardous materials in accordance with agreed frameworks;

  6. sustainable buildings and construction;

  7. awareness raising, education for creating a culture of sustainable lifestyles;

  8. providing sustainability information on products and services to consumers to enable informed decisions;

  9. fostering collaboration among the academic, scientific and technological community to advance technologies for sustainable consumption and production;

  10. sustainable public procurement;

  11. sustainable tourism promotion;

  12. enhanced reporting on corporate social and environmental responsibility, including integrated reporting, and sustainable finance;

  13. appropriate means of implementation*.


  • Changing consumption and production patterns is vital for sustainable development and poverty eradication, and also for protecting and managing the natural resource base and ecosystems.

  • The cross-cutting nature of SCP was well recognized. Some delegations were therefore not convinced of the need to have a stand-alone goal on SCP, favouring the incorporation of SCP under relevant goals in relevant areas such as energy, water and sanitation, food and agriculture, health. Several delegations did advocate a stand-alone goal, including specific target proposals of reducing the per capita energy consumption in developed countries and reducing food wastage at consumer level.

  • Many welcomed the Rio+20 decision to adopt the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production (10YFP) and called for its implementation. A number of countries called for early and generous contributions to its trust fund.

  • Several emphasized the importance of sustainable procurement, in particular public procurement, suggesting a target in this area would be useful. A mix of other policies is needed to promote SCP, including fiscal instruments, education and awareness raising, voluntary certification schemes, and regulations, standards and legislation.

  • It was recalled that existing agreements that address SCP call on developed countries to lead in shifting towards sustainable consumption and production; it was also noted that developing countries are already among the leaders in some areas like renewable energy and possess valuable knowledge, including traditional knowledge, about efficient resource use.

  • Targets on decoupling resource use from economic growth were proposed, including for relative decoupling in developing countries and absolute decoupling in developed ones.

  • Design of products is critical to life cycle management of impacts and encouraging recycling and reuse.

  • SCP requires the involvement of all stakeholders, and the private sector would play an mportant

  • role. Labelling schemes can be helpful in guiding and shaping consumer choices towards sustainable consumption, but care and capacity building are needed to avoid disadvantaging developing country producers, especially SMEs.

  • The poor and the vulnerable are the first victims of harmful chemicals. It was highlighted that many developing countries, including LDCs and SIDS, lack capacity to manage chemicals and waste sustainably. Strong linkages exist between sound chemicals management and other sustainable development issues, including health and water.

  • Reference was made to the need to reaffirm commitments to relevant Conventions relating to chemicals and waste; the SAICM 2020 target was proposed as a reference point for any possible SDG target relating to chemicals.

The above was taken from the United Nations Sustainability web site:

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