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Responsible consumtion and production

Sustainability in consumption and production is essential for making more efficient use of resources, reducing environmental and climate impact and improving human health. The means of achieving this goal include better use of ecosystem services, less use of hazardous chemicals and a switch to sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg are looking at sustainable production from several different angles, which are anything from research in aquaculture to studies on consumption patterns.
A research project off the coast of Bohuslän is focused on the farming of algae, fish and shellfish. An important part of this project is studying how viable farming of this kind is seen to be from different perspectives: organic, socioeconomic, cultural and the labour market. Identifying long-term sustainable solutions in aquaculture requires striking a balance between these approaches as well.

An understanding of the impact of chemicals on our environment

Another example of the research into sustainable consumption and production is studying the way in which chemicals released during production, for instance, interact with each other. This gives us a better understanding of the total impact of chemicals on the environment and climate. The chemicals acting as substitutes for hazardous chemicals also require study in the environment into which they are released. This is important because there is a risk they will prove to be worse than the substances they are replacing.

Consumption and reuse

The reuse of materials is in itself nothing new, but the methods have changed over time. Researchers have studied the way in which, say, consumption patterns and the recycling of textiles have changed by nature from the 1950s to the present. In the past clothes were often patched and repaired or else resewn for other purposes, and this was indeed an important focus of needlework lessons in schools. During the 1970s there was a change in consumption patterns in society, and the skills and interest in the reuse of clothing was forgotten. In recent decades there has been renewed interest, although this now usually in the form of second-hand clothing, and we buy clothes meant to last for more than one owner. The disadvantage can be an extending of the range that can in turn mean increased consumption, and future studies will show whether this behaviour will be sustainable in the long term. The reuse of materials such as wool has also been shown to be an enduring trend in production.

Since the 1990s there has also been a clear trend in the reuse of materials in the construction sector. When old buildings are pulled down their architectural details are usually salvaged, partly to preserve the high-quality craftsmanship and partly because it is a style that is popular in renovation projects.

This is goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

Sustainable consumption and production is 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. Its implementation helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty.

Source: The UN's Official website for Sustainable Develpoment Goals

Page Manager: Erika Hoff|Last update: 4/12/2018

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