According to the recent Sustainable Development Report 2021, Australia is tracking poorly on several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
The 17 SDGs are an internationally agreed framework for urgent action to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, including Australia. The goals address global challenges, including global inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.
Unfortunately, Australia has received a low-performance rating for SDG 12, with the report stating that insufficient national information was available for the goal’s target indicators. The good news is that we already have the tools and the frameworks to address these gaps.
Each of GECA’s lifecycle ecolabel standards, for example, links to specific SDG targets, with criteria relating to SDG 12 found across ALL standards, with a particular focus on:
• 12.2 – Sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
• 12.4 – Environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their lifecycle
• 12.5 – Reducing waste generation
• 12.6 – Encouraging companies to adopt sustainable practices and integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
Developing, purchasing and using products that meet the strict requirements of a lifecycle ecolabel such as GECA’s, is one clear way to support Australia’s progress on the SDGs. Lifecycle ecolabels like GECA fit perfectly into sustainable procurement policies, considering that certifying bodies have already done the rigorous work of determining whether a product or service meets specific sustainability criteria.
Through our consultation and advisory, education and training, and our events and engagement services, as an organisation, we also contribute to SDG target 12.7 on promoting sustainable public procurement practices.
An excellent indication that Australia is ready to embrace sustainable consumption and production is that government procurement teams must now ask suppliers for options that demonstrate or consider sustainability and the use of recycled content. In addition, Commonwealth staff have been referred to GECA’s Product Database to learn what products are available.
We are eager to continue working with all levels of government to ensure that Australia is ranked as a leader across all SDGs and SDG 12 in particular.
The SDGs, combined with Science-Based Targets, circular economy thinking, and lifecycle ecolabels, are a formidable blueprint for GOOD. At GECA, we know that collaboration is critical to creating real and lasting positive change.
So, we would like to invite anyone interested in working with us to get in touch! This includes all levels of government, businesses, our fellow not for profits and indeed, all communities seeking to further their sustainability journey.