Responsible production and consumption

If the world's population were to reach 9.6 billion in 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets would be needed to provide the natural resources needed to maintain today's lifestyle.

Global consumption and production (the driving forces of the global economy) depend on the use of the natural environment and resources in a way that continues to have destructive effects on the planet.

The economic and social progress achieved over the last century has been accompanied by environmental degradation that is threatening the very systems on which our future development (and indeed, our survival) depends.

Here are some facts and figures:

  • Each year, an estimated one-third of all food produced (the equivalent of 1.3 billion tonnes worth close to $1 trillion) ends up rotting in consumer and retailer bins, or spoiling due to poor transport and collection practices.
  • If everyone replaced their light bulbs with energy-efficient ones, it would save USD 120 billion a year.
  • Should the world's population reach 9.6 billion people in 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets could be needed to provide the natural resources necessary to maintain current lifestyles.

The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity for countries to develop recovery plans that reverse current trends and shift our consumption and production patterns towards a more sustainable future.

Sustainable consumption and production is about doing more and better with less. It is also about decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, increasing resource efficiency and promoting sustainable lifestyles.

Sustainable consumption and production can also make a substantial contribution to poverty alleviation and the transition to green, low-carbon economies.