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© UN Photo / Martine Perret

If the global
RESPONSIBLE 9.6 billion
CONSUMPTION & by 2050,
the equivalent
PRODUCTION: of almost
What is the goal here? decades. This is good for
To ensure sustainable
individual prosperity but
it will increase demand
will be
consumption and pro-
duction patterns
for already constrained
natural resources. If we
required to
don’t act to change our
consumption and pro-
sustain current
More people globally are
expected to join the middle
duction patterns, we will
cause irreversible dam- lifestyles
class over the next two age to our environment.
What are some of the How can I help as you buy and choosing
a sustainable option
current consumption a business? whenever possible.
and production patterns It’s in businesses’ interest
Reducing our waste can be
that need to change? to find new solutions that
done in many ways, from
enable sustainable con-
There are many aspects ensuring you don’t throw
sumption and production
of consumption that with away food to reducing your
patterns. A better under-
simple changes can have consumption of plastic—
standing of environmen-
a big impact on society one of the main pollutants
tal and social impacts of
as a whole. For example, of the ocean. Carrying a
products and services is
each year about one third reusable bag, refusing to
needed, both of product
of all food produced— use plastic straws, and
life cycles and how these
equivalent to 1.3 billion recycling plastic bottles are
are affected by use within
tonnes worth around $1 good ways to do your part
lifestyles. Identifying “hot
trillion—ends up rotting every day. Making informed
spots” within the value
in the bins of consumers purchases about what
chain where interven-
and retailers, or spoiling we’re buying also helps.
tions have the greatest
due to poor transportation For example, the textile
potential to improve the
and harvesting practices, industry today is the second
environmental and social
something that busi- largest polluter of clean
impact of the system as
nesses need to address. water after agriculture, and
a whole is a crucial first
many fashion companies
When it comes to step. Businesses can
exploit textile workers in
consumers, households also use their innovative
the developing world. If
consume 29 per cent of power to design solutions
you can buy from sustain-
global energy and con- that can both enable and
able and local sources you
tribute to 21 per cent of inspire individuals to lead
can make a difference as
resultant CO2 emissions. more sustainable life-
well as exercising pressure
However, if people world- styles, reducing impacts
on businesses to adopt
wide switched to energy and improving well-being.
sustainable practices.
efficient lightbulbs the
world would save US$120 How can I help as For more suggestions
billion annually. Water a consumer? on what you can
pollution is also a press- do please visit:
There are two main ways
ing issue that needs a http://www.un.org/
to help: 1. Reducing
sustainable solution. sustainabledevelopment/
your waste and 2. Being
We are polluting water takeaction
thoughtful about what
faster than nature can
recycle and purify water
in rivers and lakes.