La Trobe Business School

Tag: SDGs Series

SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 12

SDG 12 - Responsible consumption and production

More people globally are expected to join the middle class over the next two decades. These socio-economic and demographic changes are good for individual prosperity but will increase demand for already constrained natural resources. Societies need to find just and equitable ways to meet individual needs and aspirations within the ecological limits of the planet.

The facts

According to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, 2019), 2 billion people are overweight or obese, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year, while another 2 billion people go hungry or undernourished. When it comes to water, only 3% of the world’s water is fresh (drinkable) and humans are using it faster than nature can replenish it. Consumption is not just about food and drinks, it is the use of any good or service. Energy consumption for example – if people everywhere switched to energy efficient light bulbs, the world would save US$120 billion annually. In addition, only one-fifth of the world’s final energy consumption in 2013 was from renewable sources.

Looking at production, the food sector accounts for around 22% of total greenhouse gas emissions, largely from the conversion of forests into farmland. Also, agriculture is the biggest user of water worldwide, and irrigation now claims close to 70% of all freshwater for human use.

The focus of SDG 12

Sustainable development goal twelve (SDG 12) aims at decoupling economic growth from environmental damage and natural resource exploitation. Responsible consumption and production are about promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. Their implementation helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty (UN Sustainable Development Goals, 2019).

Australia and SDG 12

Below are some examples of Australia’s best practice in addressing SDG 12.

  • At the systems level, supply chain logistics group Brambles, deploys a circular share and reuse system through its vast network. This model supports greater collaboration opportunities, reduces costs, carbon emissions, waste, and demand on natural resources.
  • In 2018, Sydney hosted the first Australian Circular Fashion Conference, focused on responsible fashion practice and supporting economic growth.
  • The Australian Government and the Australian Water Partnership fund the Alliance for Water Stewardship (Indo-Pacific) to work with the Council of Textile and Fashion and member companies to improve water stewardship through their supply chains to achieve sustainable and responsible production of clothes for the Australian and international market.
  • Yarra Valley Water’s Waste to Energy facility (ReWaste), in Victoria (opened in 2017), has the capacity to convert the equivalent of 33,000 tonnes of commercial food waste into energy that powers a neighbouring sewerage treatment plant, with excess electricity returned to the electricity grid.
  • The Australian Packaging Covenant encourages industry to take responsibility for improving the sustainability of its packaging and aims to change the culture of business to design more sustainable packaging, increase recycling rates and reduce packaging litter.
  • The Government has developed a National Food Waste Strategy in close consultation with industry, business, academia, other levels of government and civil society. It will support collective action towards halving Australia’s food waste by 2030 through the adoption of circular economy approaches and raising consumer awareness.
  • The states of Victoria and New South Wales, and the City of Brisbane, have introduced the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign that aims to raise awareness of avoidable food waste.
  • Australia is the largest donor to the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative and the Extractives Global Programmatic Support multi-donor trust fund in the World Bank, helping resource-rich developing nations use their oil, gas and mineral resources sustainably and transparently, including with a consideration to gender equality.

LBS and SDG 12

LBS has several initiatives that link to SDG 12 as well. In November 2018, LBS organised the highly successful Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum in collaboration with NORTHLink. The forum explored what it takes to build innovative and sustainable global food production systems and agribusinesses (read more about the forum here).

We also offer a Bachelor of Business (Agribusiness). Besides developing skills to develop, finance, market and manage agricultural businesses, our degree develops responsible, engaged, innovative and work-ready graduates equipped to help farmers improve their food production sustainably and reduce the impact on declining resources (learn more about the degree here).

SDG Video

The video on SDG 12 is produced by LBS and shows Donna Burnett and Dr Leeora Black. Donna introduces the SDG and its targets for 2030. There are eight targets and include implementation of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on responsible consumption and production, efficient management and use of natural resources, cutting various types of waste, and responsible management of wastes and chemicals. It also calls for adoption of sustainable practices in companies and in public procurement. In the second part of the video Leeora, a Principal in the Sustainability Services team at Deloitte Australia, talks about the Australian Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act and how the act encourages business to use their influence to eliminate modern slavery in operations and supply chains.

Please enjoy the presentation.

If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019.

More blogs in the SDG Series:

- An introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 1
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 2
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 3
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 4
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 5
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 6
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 7
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 8
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 9
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 10
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 11

SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 3

The relationship between health and sustainable development is based on the premise that human beings are entitled to a healthy and productive life, in harmony with nature. It further recognizes that the goals of sustainable development can only be achieved in the absence of a high prevalence of debilitating diseases, while recognising that health gains for the whole population requires poverty eradication.

The facts

Significant strides have been made in improving health outcomes and life expectancy, however, people are still suffering needlessly from preventable diseases, and too many are dying prematurely. Progress has been uneven, both between and within countries. There is a 31-year gap between the countries with the shortest and longest life expectancies. At least 400 million people have no basic healthcare. More than one of every three women have experienced either physical or sexual violence at some point in their life. And, did you know that every 2 seconds someone aged 30 to 70 years dies prematurely from noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer? (United Nations Development Program, 2019).

The focus of SDG 3

Overcoming disease and ill health will require concerted and sustained efforts, focusing on population groups and regions that have been neglected. The specific focus of sustainable development goal 3 is on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health; infectious disease and non-communicable diseases, and; more efficient funding and access to health systems (UN Knowledge Platform, 2019). The targets related to this SDG seek to address some key areas such as:

  • Maternal and new born mortality
  • HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, Hepatitis B and waterborne diseases
  • Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease
  • Suicide prevention, and mental health
  • Substance abuse
  • Road traffic injuries
  • Family planning
  • Hazardous chemicals and pollution
  • Tobacco control
  • Vaccines and medicines access
  • Universal health coverage

All the while strengthening the institutions, structures and workforces that deliver these outcomes.

Australia’s Voluntary National Review and SDG 3

On 15 July 2018, Australia released the Voluntary National Review (VNR), which details Australia’s implementation of the SDGs since their adoption in 2016.  The report addresses how Australia is performing against each of the goals and includes case studies of activities currently undertaken to achieve them. These activities include government initiatives and efforts from business, civil society, academia and youth. Australia’s Health 2016 summarises the key findings in relation to Australia’s performance against SDG 3:

 “While there are positive signs and progress on many fronts, it is clear that Australia is not healthy in every way, and some patterns and trends give cause for concern. Chronic diseases… are becoming increasingly common in Australia due to a population that is increasing and ageing, as well as to social and lifestyle changes… Presenting a broad picture of health status can mask the fact that some groups in our community are not faring as well, including people living in rural and remote areas, the lowest socioeconomic groups, Indigenous Australians and people living with disability.”

Australia – Building a healthy ecosystem

The Australian approach to this SDG is centred around the importance of healthy ecosystems and socio-economic factors to human health. For example, the Victorian Government, and particularly Parks Victoria, has worked closely with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and its member organisations to develop an integrated approach recognising the contribution of nature and parks to overall health and wellbeing, building on a message of “Healthy Parks, Healthy People”. Similarly, Government mental health programs are complemented by broad-based community initiatives such as beyondblue and QLife, a peer-supported telephone and web-based counselling and referral service for LGBTI people.

As a country, we also continue to make strides, and are a global leader in many areas of public health and medical research.  For example, through the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products and the development of the Human Papillomavirus vaccine.  Advances in technology may also assist with addressing health needs in rural and remote communities through the introduction of digital technology, including mobile health, online health records and telehealth systems.

Further, in addressing health challenges and ‘leaving no one behind’, a strategy has been introduced that focuses on reducing the gap in health outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which is caused by a mix of social factors, risk factors and differences in access to appropriate health care. And in 2019, the Government announced a royal commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with a disability, following similar royal commissions which examined the abuse of vulnerable people, including institutional responses to child sex abuse and aged care facilities.

SDG Video

The third video in the SDG series starts with Professor Suzanne Young who gives a broad overview of the third sustainable development goal and its associated targets. Suzanne explains the Every Woman Every Child movement, the infectious disease points but also mentions the high number of premature deaths because of non-communicable diseases, the increase in road traffic deaths and the lack of physicians in about 40% of countries.

The second part of the video shows Dr Emma Seal, a research fellow from the Centre for Sport and Social Impact at La Trobe Business School. Emma researches the relationship between sport and sustainable development but also provides examples of the Sport for Development project funded by the Australian government, such as the Girls Empowerment through Cricket initiative. The project included girls between the ages of 12 and 18 in Papua New Guinea and consisted of cricket participation and education sessions focusing on key health issues impacting these girls.

If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.


This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019.

More blogs in the SDG Series:

An introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals

You’ve probably heard about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in your work and across the media. They are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, which they hope will be achieved by 2030.  These goals are a call for action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity and overall transformative action towards sustainability.

Attainment of the goals within the timeframe (by 2030) necessitates urgent, innovative, and far-reaching action from different actors – business, states, civil society, and individual citizens. As insurmountable as they may seem, they present a huge opportunity for all the actors to rethink business, development and growth and stead us all towards sustainable and inclusive world.

2018 PRME report analysis

In our role as a PRME Champion Institution, LBS has committed to embedding the SDGs into our research, teaching, partnerships and operations. In our 2018 PRME report, we undertook and analysis of LBS research outputs and found that 34% of our research is aligned with at least one of the 17 SDGs. In our analysis, we also identified the achievements, research projects and other activities LBS is involved with that are linked to the SDGs. These linkages are created through efforts including informing our understanding of the SDGs, and contributing to the development of solutions in achieving the SDGs.

Outlined below are some examples of significant activities being undertaken by LBS and LTU, linked to the 17 SDGs:

A full overview of activities can be found on pages 46 – 48 of the 2018 PRME report.

Seventh CR3+ conference

As part of our broader commitment to PRME and the SDGs, we are hosting the 7th CR3+ conference on the topic ‘Using dialogue to build partnerships for sustainability’ from the 24th to 25th October 2019.

The conference is being hosted in conjunction with our CR3+ partners – Audencia Business School (France), Hanken School of Economics (Finland) and ISAE Brazilian Business School (Brazil). The call for papers has been circulated, and we encourage you to submit a paper to the conference. The call for papers can be found here.

SDGs Series

In addition to the conference, all CR3+ partners have collaborated on a series of videos on the SDGs, bringing their unique geographical and business perspectives in developing content for four of the SDGs each. The objectives of the videos are to:

  • Introduce the Agenda 2030 framework and Sustainable Development Goals (along with insight into concepts and history of sustainable development).
  • Explain all 17 SDGs and their targets.
  • Present real-life cases demonstrating contribution towards different SDGs in different geographical regions.
  • Critical perspectives on the SDGs.

We have developed a blog series where we will highlight one Sustainable Development Goal every fortnight based on the videos in the lead up to the CR3+ conference in October. Watch this space for the first upcoming video!

If you like to know more about LBS’ involvement with PRME, please read our blog from earlier this year: LBS’ United Nations PRME commitments, or contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

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