• Nuno Moreira da Cruz

Integrating SDGS into business strategy, SDG#12 - Responsible Production and Consumption




As described in my blog entry February 3rd, I am referring, on a weekly basis, to each of the SDGs: facts, targets, and how could companies be engaged. This week is about SDG#11 -Responsible Production and Consumption

If we continue at the level of consumption and disposal model we currently have, we will soon need two planets. As Wayne Visser, Cambridge Professor says “Unless we go circular is game over for the planet”. There is no way other than moving from degenerative to regenerative, embark on “circular models” where, like in nature, everything becomes feed stock of something else. The "take, make, use" of the current model remains, but then it needs to enter into a regenerate, restore (repair, reuse, recycle) mode, so that we do not need to go back and “take” again.

From product design to the way we consume, everything needs to be thought through. Innovation is the paramount concept to take us through this dilemma that, more and more, seems like survival. Business as usual is no longer an option. If companies are not to over-exploit the resources provided by our planet, constant innovation and adaptation must be the norm.

Facts

  • Should the global population reach 9.6 billion by 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles.

  • Less than3% of the world’s water is fresh (drinkable), of which 2.5% is frozen in the Antarctica, Arctic and glaciers. Humanity must therefore rely on 0.5% for all of man’s ecosystem’s and fresh water needs.

  • Humankind is polluting water in rivers and lakes faster than nature can recycle and purify

  • More than 1 billion people still do not have access to fresh water.

  • If people worldwide switched to energy efficient lightbulbs, the world would save US$120 billion annually.

  • Households consume 29 per cent of global energy and consequently contribute to 21 per cent of resultant CO2 emissions.

  • The share of renewable energy in final energy consumption has reached only 17.5% in 2015.

  • Each year, an estimated 1/3 of all food produced – equivalent to 1.3 billion tons worth around $1 trillion – ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices

  • 2 billion people globally are overweight or obese.

  • The food sector accounts for around 30% of the world’s total energy consumption and accounts for around 22% of total Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Targets

There are 11 targets and can be found here: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-consumption-production

Companies’ engagement

  • Develop innovative business models such as moving from selling products to selling services, to retain ownership of the products and help close the materials loop.

  • Enable sustainable consumption by developing innovative solutions can reduce energy need in usage and educate consumers about these benefits.

  • Reduce manufacturing impacts by substituting virgin raw materials in products with post-consumer materials through recycling and upcycling.

  • Apply modular design, so products’ constituent parts will be easily separated and either re-used without further processing, or easily recycled near the point of disposal.

  • Significantly reduce waste and ensure that any unavoidable waste is utilized to the fullest degree (e.g. organic waste as fuel or fertilizer).