Ensuring sustainable consumption & production patterns is the purpose of Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG 12). This goal strives to decrease waste, use & reuse resources efficiently, & adopt zero-waste practices.

Actions, stories, & resources related to SDG 12: Responsible Consumption & Production as told in the 2021 Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report, & then expanded on below, illustrate Auburn’s impact. For an overview highlighting our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), please visit


Future economic and social progress depend on sustainable production and consumption patterns. Responsible consumption and production address issues related to food, fuel, over-extraction of resources, social and ethical impacts of product manufacturing, and all other issues involving waste and excessive resource use.

Auburn University is most highly engaged with Goal 12, especially through course offerings. There were no fewer than 33 courses offered from 2016-2018 relating to responsible consumption and production. Auburn University also offers one undergraduate degree program related to Goal 12; the most majors related to any of the SDGs. As the world navigates a future of waste elimination, efficient systems, and resource depletion, Auburn University has the potential to be a leader in the charge to navigate these realities sustainably.

View the 2021 report titled Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for an overview of Auburn’s contributions to all the SDGs.

Actions at Auburn

SCMN 4620, offered through the Harbert College of Business, addresses how a company must strategically incorporate environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability into its supply chain decision-making. Pressure from customers, policymakers and non-governmental organizations compels companies to address the environmental footprint of their operations and the social impact they have on local communities. Specific topics include ethical sourcing, risk management, transparency, innovation, resource scarcity, waste reduction, carbon emissions, and human rights issues. SCMN 4620 exposes students to the UN SDGs in addition to principles of supply chain management.

Sustainable Biomaterial students sdg Photo courtesy of Hannah Lester

Environmental concerns and evolving technologies are moving companies toward the use of sustainable forest biomaterial for everything from packaging, cosmetics, and automobiles to appliances, pharmaceuticals, and commercial construction. This degree program, offered through the College of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, is aimed at providing students with knowledge, expertise, and hands-on experience to prepare them for careers in packaging manufacturing product development and marketing, biomaterials research, supply chain management, and distribution and logistics.

The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Lab, housed in the College of Business, works with industry partners to increase effectiveness of RFID technologies to improve serialized data sharing within the retail industry. The RFID Lab is a research institute focusing on the business case and technical implementation of RFID and other emerging technologies in retail, aviation, supply chain management, and manufacturing. RFID Lab has had success in multiple public-private partnerships, including RFID technology promotes responsible consumption and production by reducing counterfeit items within the retail industry, which promotes ethical consumption, and improving the accuracy of on-hand inventory at retail stores, which will reduce the instances of excess product and unnecessary shipping.

Scientists in RFID lab SDG 12 Photo courtesy of Radio Frequency Identification Lab

People & Stories

Orange & Blue Goes Green with Gameday Waste & Recycling Program

| Guest Posts, SDG, SDG12 | No Comments
By Joan Hicken. Student volunteers pass out bags to tailgaters to collect plastic bottles and aluminum cans for recycling. College sports are making a commitment to greener practices as part of the growing sports sustainability movement. They support campus-wide environmental goals, provide a platform for environmental education, and signal Auburn…

Once is Not Enough. Recycle.

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By Joan Hicken. Colorful illustration of the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle. Living sustainably is about making small changes. It is important to remember the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle. Practicing them will reduce the amount of waste you produce. Adopting these habits now will set…

Are You Recycling Correctly? Maybe.

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By David Knowles. There are intricacies to waste sorting that we think we understand but we really really do not. Your local recycling program might not accept all recyclable items and putting things in the recycling bin that cannot be recycled will contaminate the recycling stream. This can be confusing,…

A “Decent” Economy

| Director's Corner, SDG1, SDG12, SDG5, SDG8 | No Comments
“If you define the goal of a society as GNP , that society will do its best to produce GNP. It will not produce welfare, equity, justice, or efficiency unless you define a goal and regularly measure and report the state of welfare, equity, justice, or efficiency.” ~Donella Meadows More…

Recycling In An Imperfect World

| Guest Posts, SDG12, SDG9 | No Comments
United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UNSDG) 12 is to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.” “Consumption and production drive the global economy, but also wreak havoc on planetary health through the unsustainable use of natural resources. The global material footprint is increasing faster than population growth and economic output.” –…

Explore the SDGs & AU