Responsible consumption and production

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

SDG 12 Responsible consumption and production

By 2030 this Goal aims to achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources; halve per capita global food waste and reduce food losses along production and supply chains; substantially reduce overall waste generation; and minimize the impact of waste chemicals on the environment. There are also a range of targets to promote sustainable practices and reduce wasteful consumption. Read more on the UN SDGs website…

See posters and messages on the Global Goals website…

You could use this film clip to start off a lesson exploring issues around consumption. When people in the West throw their clothes away, their cast-offs might go on a journey east, across the oceans, to Panipat in northern India, where they are recycled back into yarn. In this film we meet some of the garment recyclers, who are curious about the people who threw away their clothes ‘practically unworn’. This clip is a one-minute trailer; you can view the full 14-minute documentary, ‘Unravel’, on the Aeon website.

Unravel – Trailer from Soul Rebel Films on Vimeo.

Here are some teaching ideas for exploring this Goal through different subjects:

English / Mother tongue: Students could write an informative piece, perhaps for a school newspaper, explaining ways that people can lead more sustainable lifestyles.

Maths: Students could collect data on food waste in their home or school canteen and then learn to present and analyse the data effectively. They could then explore ways to reduce food waste. Alternatively, students could compare food waste statistics for their country with others around the world; why do they think some countries waste more food than others?

Geography: You could research the supply chain of a resource or product – where does it come from, who are all the people involved in bringing the finished product to shops, who earns what money? Classic examples include bananas, chocolate, a pair of jeans and now palm oil.

Science: Students could investigate the impact of pesticides and other chemicals on the environment. For examples, neonicotinoids and bees. Why do we need them? How do they work? What impact do they have? What are the alternatives?

Teaching resources

Lesson plans:

Understanding Sustainable Living – 60 mins, ages 11 to 14. Suitable for Social Studies, Geography, Science.
An Energy Project for the Global Goals – 60 mins, ages 8 to 11, kicking off a six-month project. Suitable for Geography, Maths.

Browse through further resources that can help you teach about waste

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Global goals

Click on the images below to explore the other Global Goals: