Sustainable Development Goal 12: standards to ensure sustainable consumption and production

The world’s population is continuously growing. There are 7.5 billion people on our planet in 2019, that must share the earth’s bounty. This means that in keeping our planet habitable and life on earth sustainable, we face plenty of challenges. But the insatiable desire for more  continues to further exhaust our natural resources. We urgently need to take action and do more with less. After all, we don’t have a planet B.


What is SDG 12?

With SDG 12, the UN has mapped a course for more sustainable production and consumption. We can achieve this by making more efficient use of our natural resources and making our living and working infrastructure more resilient. 

SDG 12 offers guidance in our evolution towards a more inclusive economy, where more people have access to basic facilities and a better quality of life. To this end, we need development plans that reduce economic, social and environmental costs without affecting the competition or quality of life.


SDG 12 in numbers


If we don’t change tack soon, we will need three planets in 2050 to maintain our current lifestyle. 

9 tons per person

Standard of living has significantly improved because of more plastic (non-metal) materials used in construction and infrastructure. The downside: our material footprint per person currently stands at 9 tons. In 2000, this was just 5 tons.  


Currently 93% of the world’s 250 largest companies publish a sustainability report.  

Source: United Nations


How do standards contribute to achieving SDG 12?

The international ISO standards offer a framework aiming to reduce our impact on the environment, use more renewable energy sources and be more responsible consumers. They directly contribute to a world in which sustainable consumption and production take priority.      

  • ISO 20400, Sustainable Procurement – Guidance
    This standard helps companies with sustainable procurement. 

    Your advantage? Better margins and higher quality when buying.  

  • ISO 14020, Environmental Labels and Declarations – General Principles
    The series of ISO 14020 standards covering environmental labels and declarations set out the general principles for environmental labels. These must be accurate, verifiable, relevant and not misleading. They help consumers make informed and sustainable choices. 

    Your advantage? A quality label for green products and services.   

  • ISO 15392, Sustainability in Building Construction – General Principles 
    ISO 15392 promotes sustainability in the construction industry. It includes general principles for sustainable construction and renovation across a building’s entire lifecycle, from its design to its demolition.
    Your advantage? More accurate and measurable guidelines for sustainable construction and renovation.  

  • ISO 20245, Cross-border Trade of Second-hand Goods 
    This standard provides a quality framework for the cross-border trade of second-hand goods. This alternative consumption pattern contributes to reducing waste and facilitates sustainable procurement.  
    Your advantage? Higher-quality, well-screened second-hand goods.  


Which standards are essential for SDG 12?

ISO standards can provide a framework for the development of sustainable consumption and production patterns. These are the 9 most crucial standards in this framework: 

  1. ISO 9001:2015
    Quality management systems – Requirements
  2. ISO 10008:2013
    Quality management – Customer satisfaction – Guidelines for business-to-consumer electronic commerce transactions
  3. ISO 14001:2015
    Environmental management systems Requirements with guidance for use
  4. ISO 20121:2012
    Event sustainability management systems – Requirements with guidance for use
  5. ISO 20400:2017
    Sustainable procurement – Guidance
  6. ISO 26000:2010
    Guidance on social responsibility
  7. ISO 37101:2016
    Sustainable development in communities – Management system for sustainable development – Requirements with guidance for use
  8. ISO 55000:2014
    Asset management – Overview, principles and terminology
  9. ISO 50001:2018
    Energy management systems -- Requirements with guidance for use


How should you go about implementing standards?

The NBN helps you to put the SDGs into practice in your company or organization. Purchase the standards, follow one of our training courses that provide insight into certain standards and/or participate in committees on Sustainable Development Objectives and make your voice heard.
  • Want to purchase one or several standards? Use the personalized standard catalogue in myNBN or visit the e-shop
  • Broaden your expertise with a training course? Contact us via or + 32 (0)2 300 78 52. 

A selection from our offer: 

  • Want to participate in the development of standards? Then take part in one of our committees. Contact us via or 02 300 78 53. 

You can register as an expert and participate in a commission on the circular economy in June 2019.