Every time we decide to buy something, from vegetables to cars, we are making a choice that affects a long chain of production. We must make sure that these daily choices are sustainable if we want to build a better future.

Photo: UNDP

In Bangladesh, thousands of workers face the same daily struggle: sewing for 12 or more hours a day in clandestine factories, making only enough money to survive, while allowing for fast-fashion brands to sell their clothes for affordable prices. In Brazil, farmers use pesticides, putting profits before their workers and consumers health, and killing bees and birds without whom no healthy and natural environment is possible. Do we really want to continue to support a chain of exploitation and environmental damage?

SDG 12 is about sustainable consumption and production – and it has everything to do with our choices and priorities as individuals. However, it also needs the support of governments and international organizations to define norms and policies to ensure we build better business practices.

UNDP has raised the flag of soil, water and air pollution, and exposure to toxic chemicals challenges. Despite the many international agreements, only about half the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions that regulate disposal of waste, pesticides and organic pollutants have provided the data and information they had agreed to. Consumption and, consequently, waste, have been increasing in the last 15 years, feeding chains like modern slavery and causing health and social problems.

We can do better as a society! Apart from carefully choosing what we buy and where, we should show a preference for regional and seasonal products and brands that are committed to sustainable regulations. We should act like responsible citizens and put pressure on our governments and organizations to implement better policies that are bound to guarantee a fair production.

We can also support organizations that undertake serious work in sustainable agriculture, and subscribe to eco-conscious and fair trade conduct. On our Horyou platform, one of the most active organizations is Food and Agriculture Initiatives for Development (FAID NGO), which is committed to biodiversity and healthy agriculture, and aims to reach Zero Hunger in Benin, Africa. In Europe, Terre et Humanisme, a French NGO, also promotes agro-ecology to provide food autonomy to vulnerable communities and educate the public on safe and natural consumption.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote sustainable consumption and production in your region or anywhere in the world. You can also show your support by participating in #HoryouLightChallenge! Be the change, be Horyou!

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