12. Responsible Consumption and Production
Modern Day production and consumption methods are having a devastating effect on nature and there are myriad ways this is happening.
12.1 Implement the 10-year framework of programs on sustainable consumption and production, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries.
While it would be great to start enacting dramatic changes immediately and across the board, we must account for the impact these changes might have economically, especially for those developing countries. If developed countries take the lead, other countries could follow their leads and mitigate risk.
12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
With the finite amount of natural resources, it's important to develop ways to efficiently use them.
12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release into air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.
The current levels of chemicals and waste in our environment are unsustainable. These can be a result of runoff, CO2 pollution, dumping, etc. and the health of the environment and impact on humans rely on mitigating this.
12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.
Waste is the biggest impact on the environment, whether it be CO2, chemicals, or debris.
12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle.
Large companies are some of the biggest contributors to global pollution. Whether it's directly through emissions or as a result of their products, ie. plastic and metal packaging, lithium batteries, etc., they must develop sustainable business practices.
12.7 Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, and in accordance with national policies and priorities.
Creation, delivery, and record-keeping can have damaging effects on the environment. Whether it be the plastics to make goods, the use of fossil fuels to create and deliver goods, or tree-based paper for documentation and billing, the procurement of materials and goods has an effect on the environment.
12.8 By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.
Knowledge is the key to combating unsustainable practices. The only way to change is for people to know the damage that is being done and to change their habits.
12.A Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production.
12.B Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.
12.C Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities.
Economically, a switch to more sustainable consumption and production can be detrimental. It's a reality that the reason why we haven't gotten further in this area is the financial impact. Subsidizing countries, communities and industries will be required to push progress and ensure the implementation of sustainable practices, especially for those that are economically behind.