Responsible consumption and production

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production


Achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. Agriculture is the biggest user of water worldwide, and irrigation now claims close to 70 percent of all freshwater for human use.

The efficient management of our shared natural resources, and the way we dispose of toxic waste and pollutants, are important targets to achieve this goal. Encouraging industries, businesses and consumers to recycle and reduce waste is equally important, as is supporting developing countries to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption by 2030.

The Arab region hosts one of the most ecologically fragile and water scarce environments, pressures on carrying capacity are of particular importance in sustaining poverty reduction efforts and recovering from conflict. The population of the region has nearly tripled since 1970, climbing from 128 million to 359 million, with a population of 598 million expected by 2050, increasing by two-thirds over 2010 levels. As a result, many countries in the region have seen expanding ecological footprints and decreased carrying capacities. The continued rise of conflicts has exacerbated this challenge, increasing the fragility of natural assets and generating a need for ecological restoration.

A large share of the world 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.

In 2014, natural gas production accounted for 5.7 trillion cubic feet. Consumption of hydrocarbon products is continuously increasing with population growth and economic activity. Natural gas consumption almost doubled over the last years, increasing from 6.3 trillion cubic feet in 2000 to 13.2 trillion cubic feet in 2014


Facts and figures

1.3 billion

1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year, while almost 2 billion people go hungry or undernourished.


The food sector accounts for around 22 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, largely from the conversion of forests into farmland.

2 billion

Globally, 2 billion people are overweight or obese.


Only 3 percent of the world’s water is fresh (drinkable), and humans are using it faster than nature can replenish it.

US$120 billion

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


One-fifth of the world’s final energy consumption in 2013 was from renewable sources.