SDG 12: Targets and Indicators

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Target 12.1 Implement the 10-year framework of programmes 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

  • Indicator 12.1.1: Number of countries with sustainable consumption and production (SCP) national action plans or SCP mainstreamed as a priority or a target into national policies

Target 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources

  • Indicator 12.2.1: Material footprint, material footprint per capita, and material footprint per GDP
  • Indicator 12.2.2: Domestic material consumption, domestic material consumption per capita, and domestic material consumption per GDP

Target 12.3 By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses

  • Indicator 12.3.1: (a) Food loss index and (b) food waste index

Target 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 to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment

  • Indicator 12.4.1: Number of parties to international multilateral environmental agreements on hazardous waste, and other chemicals that meet their commitments and obligations in transmitting information as required by each relevant agreement
  • Indicator 12.4.2: Hazardous waste generated per capita and proportion of hazardous waste treated, by type of treatment

Target 12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse

  • Indicator 12.5.1: National recycling rate, tons of material recycled

Target 12.6 Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle

  • Indicator 12.6.1: Number of companies publishing sustainability reports

Target 12.7 Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities

  • Indicator 12.7.1: Number of countries implementing sustainable public procurement policies and action plans

Target 12.8 By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature

  • Indicator 12.8.1: Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development (including climate change education) are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment

Target 12.A Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production

  • Indicator 12.A.1: Amount of support to developing countries on research and development for sustainable consumption and production and environmentally sound technologies

Target 12.B Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products

  • Indicator 12.B.1: Number of sustainable tourism strategies or policies and implemented action plans with agreed monitoring and evaluation tools

Target 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

  • Indicator 12.C.1: Amount of fossil-fuel subsidies per unit of GDP (production and consumption) and as a proportion of total national expenditure on fossil fuels


SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Sustainable Development Goal 12 encourages more sustainable consumption and production patterns through various measures, including specific policies and international agreements on the management of materials that are toxic to the environment. Their implementation will help to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty.

Sustainable consumption and production include the promotion of resource and energy efficiency, of sustainable infrastructure and providing access to basic services, as well as the creation of green and decent jobs to ensure a better quality of life for all.

Sustainable growth and development require minimizing the natural resources and toxic materials used, and the waste and pollutants generated, throughout the entire production and consumption process. It is necessary to continue to address challenges regarding air, water and soil pollution.

Since sustainable consumption and production aims at “doing more and better with less”, net welfare gains from economic activities can increase by reducing resource use, degradation and pollution along the whole life cycle, while increasing quality of life.

There also needs to be significant focus on operating on supply chain, involving everyone from producer to final consumer. This includes educating consumers on sustainable consumption and lifestyles, providing them with adequate information through standards and labels and engaging in sustainable public procurement, among others.

Material footprint

The material footprint is an accounting of fossil fuels and other raw materials extracted globally and used in a particular country. It reflects the amount of primary materials required to meet a country’s needs and can be interpreted as an indicator of the material standard of living or level of capitalization of an economy.

From 2000 to 2010, the material footprint per GDP of developed regions dropped as a result of greater efficiency in industrial processes. But at 23.6 kilograms per unit of GDP in 2010, it was still substantially higher than the figure for developing regions at 14.5 kilograms per unit of GDP.

As developing countries industrialized, the material footprint of the regions as a whole grew over this 10-year period. Non-metallic minerals showed the largest increase, rising from 5.3 to 6.9 kilograms per unit of GDP. This component represents almost half the material footprint of developing regions.

Material consumption

Domestic material consumption measures the total amount of materials used in economic processes. It is defined as the annual quantity of raw materials extracted from the domestic territory, plus all physical imports and minus all physical exports. It includes intermediate and final consumption until released to the environment.

Domestic material consumption per capita declined slightly in developed regions, from 17.5 metric tons per capita in 2000 to 15.3 metric tons per capita in 2010. However, it remained 72% higher than the value for developing regions, which stood at 8.9 metric tons per capita in 2010. Domestic material consumption per capita increased in almost all developing regions over this period, except in sub-Saharan Africa, where it remained relatively stable, and Oceania, where it decreased from 10.7 to 7.7 metric tons per capita.

The dramatic rise in the consumption per capita of raw materials in Asia, particularly Eastern Asia, during this period is primarily due to rapid industrialization.

What does this mean and what does this look like?

Whenever we think of production, the country which probably comes to our mind is China, that has become the factory of the world. “Made in China” labels are omnipresent.

China is a huge country with many faces. Factories are known to be located in Guandong province, and one of the cities there is Dongguan. This city itself is sometimes called “the world’s factory” due to its prosperous manufacturing industry.

Introduction to Dongguan

In 2018, the great majority of its population, 75%, are migrant workers and among these, women also play an essential role.

Factory girls, China’s female factory workers, often outnumber their male counterparts. Dongguan was known for having a higher number of women workers and these were in high demand and short supply in 2013.

Dongguan is also considered one of the homes of Cantonese culture, and particularly Cantonese Opera, appearing together with Kungqu and Beijing Opera on Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.