Worldwide material consumption has expanded rapidly, as has material footprint per capita, seriously jeopardizing the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 12 and the Goals more broadly. Urgent action is needed to ensure that current material needs do not lead to the overextraction of resources or to the degradation of environmental resources, and should include policies that improve resource efficiency, reduce waste and mainstream sustainability practices across all sectors of the economy.
- In 2017, worldwide material consumption reached 92.1 billion tons, up from 87 billion in 2015 and a 254 per cent increase from 27 billion in 1970, with the rate of extraction accelerating every year since 2000. This reflects the increased demand for natural resources that has defined the past decades, resulting in undue burden on environmental resources. Without urgent and concerted political action, it is projected that global resource extraction could grow to 190 billion tons by 2060.
- Material footprint per capita has increased considerably as well: in 1990 some 8.1 tons of natural resources were used to satisfy a person’s need, while in 2015, almost 12 tons of resources were extracted per person.
- Well-designed national policy frameworks and instruments are necessary to enable the fundamental shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns. In 2018, 71 countries and the European Union reported on a total of 303 policy instruments.
- Parties to the Montreal Protocol and the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are required to transmit information on the implementation of their obligations under those agreements. However, the rate of transmission varies, with the average compliance rate across these four agreements at approximately 70 per cent.
Source: Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg12)