At the World Summit on Sustainable Development 2012, the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production(10FP) was adopted with the aim to accelerate the shift towards ‘sustainable consumption and production’ in both developed and developing countries.

Here, the question arises what does it mean and why we should know about it?

Heedless of the rapid resource depletion and calamitous changes in climate, the world is moving with a rapid stride towards advancement. This advancement is alarming as it comes at the cost of the ability of the future generations to meet their needs. The onus is on us to leave this planet better and not worse than we found it.

In order to do that you must know what Goal 12 of 17 UN SDGs aims to achieve. It aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production. United Nations Economic Programme (UNEP) describes it as,

‘’the use of services and related products, which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations”.

In other words, it is about doing more with fewer resources. It is also about promoting sustainable lifestyles, increasing resource efficiency and making a transition from carbon-intensive economy towards a green and low-carbon economy.

The proverb ‘Actions speak louder than words’ demands evidence of what has been done by governments so far to achieve the goal of sustainable consumption and production.

  • More than 100 counties have come together to form the largest ever alliance-Climate Ambition Alliance Net Zero 2050- committed to the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. It rallies the support and active participation of businesses, cities, local players and other private actors outside of national governments to work towards the cause of sustainable and inclusive growth. Despite being seventh on the list of countries most affected by climate change India isn’t a part of this alliance.
  • According to Net Zero Tracker, more than 30 countries have incorporated climate neutrality by 2050 in proposed legislations, laws or a national policy document. India, along with few other countries has committed to accomplish the goal by 2060. The objective here is to integrate the principle of climate neutrality in national law and policies.
  • According to The Sustainable Development Report 2021, majority of countries have made public statements of support for SDG and 2030 Agenda. Most countries are incorporating SDGs in their national policies and action plans. Some of them have appointed an agency responsible for ensuring the implementation of SDGs. All of these initiatives are taken with the aim of achieving SDGs.

Notwithstanding statements of support, the question ‘how close are countries to meeting these targets’ overshadows these initiatives and puts them into background. The discrepancy between statements of support for the SDGs and integration of these goals in public policies, especially national budgets, is too large to be not seen.

Once Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, it didn’t take much time for the ‘healed earth’ to go back to its pre-pandemic track leading towards devastation. Temporary gains made in sustainable production and consumption during the lockdown period are now history.

So far, we’ve only seen unsustainable means of production and consumption affecting the performance of SDG 12. It is high time for every stakeholder involved in implementing SDGs to realize the gravity of the situation, take measures to tackle it and ensure that it yields positive results. It is important to maintain and increase the focus on achieving the objectives agreed upon by the international community in 2015, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 Agenda and Paris Climate Agreement.

Surely, coming to a halt of economies and unwillingly staying at home isn’t an easy price to pay for us to see some change.


Anam Khan