The ecological transition to a more inclusive and sustainable industrial development must start from the reduction of our footprint on the planet by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. The efficient management of feedstocks and the way we dispose of toxic waste and pollutants are important targets to achieve. This will be possible only by encouraging industries, businesses, and consumers to recycle and reduce waste, supporting developing countries to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption in line with the goals promoted by the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development released by the United Nations.
As reported by Goal 12 “Responsible consumption and production” a large share of the world’s population is still consuming far too little to meet even their basic needs. Halving the per capita of global food waste at the retailer and consumer levels is also important for creating more efficient production and supply chains. This can help with food security, and shift us towards a more resource-efficient economy.
Avoiding waste is important for several reasons:
- Each year, an estimated one-third 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.
- If people worldwide switched to energy-efficient light bulbs the world would save US$120 billion annually.
- 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.
Because sustainable consumption is doing more and better with less, decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, increasing resource efficiency, and promoting sustainable lifestyles. Indeed, sustainable consumption and production will contribute to poverty alleviation and the transition towards low-carbon and green economies.