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 highly engaged with Goal 12, especially through teaching activities. There were no fewer than 90 courses offered from 2019-20121 relating to responsible consumption and production. Auburn University’s sustainability-oriented minors have the highest correlation with SDG 12 at 3 minors. 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

The Natural Resources Management degree equips students with the knowledge necessary to conserve, maintain, and manage systems of natural resources. Housed in the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, this interdisciplinary degree aims to solve diverse and contemporary issues in resource consumption. Based on the relationship between humans and their environment, the Natural Resources Management Degree uses the sustainability compass as a framework to provide humans with the resources needed for the future. Natural Resources Management requires a minor from one of these related areas of study: Nature-Based Recreation, Watershed Sciences, Urban Environmental Science, Natural Resource Ecology, International Business, or Sustainability.

People doing watershed monitoring

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.

Member of the Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging Society tabling.

The Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging Society is a student organization with the goal of educating fellow students and faculty on the Sustainable Biomaterials and Packaging Major, as well as discussing professional advancement in relation to the interests of its members. The club focuses on professional outcomes and practical use of utilizing forest biomaterial sustainably. The society provides students a space to explore intersections of biological, ecological, environmental, social, economic, and ethical considerations in sustainable biomaterials and packaging markets in order to provide focus for their future graduate programs, employment, and experiences.

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.

Sustainable Biomaterial students sdg Photo courtesy of Hannah Lester

As an Associate Professor in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, Professor Jerrod Windham focuses on sustainable design strategies for the production of goods and services. Prof. Windham studies the elimination of waste and works to increase efficiencies in supply chains, to improve social and environmental sustainability in communities, benefiting businesses and consumers alike. Through his innovations in digital fabrication, Dr. Windham works to evolve systems of entrepreneurship, assistive technology, and environmental sustainability. Prof. Windham also leads the annual Designing Green initiative, consisting of guest lecturers and a sustainable design competition.

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

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.

People & Stories

The Song of the Taiwanese Trash Truck

| Guest Posts, SDG12, SDG13, Updates | No Comments
by Jesse Teel Taiwan had the unfortunate nickname “Garbage Island.” Trash polluted the environment through littering and burning. Mountains of waste rotted in the streets. Taiwan initiated a waste management overhaul and the last two decades have seen a transformation to a clean, largely litter-free country.   The waste and recycling…

Purchasing Assessment: Auburn University’s STARs Report

| SDG12, SDG15, SDG3, SDG6, SDG8, STARS, Updates | No Comments
by Randy Martin, Office of Sustainability With this “Purchasing” criteria, ¹STARS is drawing attention to the purchasing power of universities. Collectively universities spend billions of dollars on essential items. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the total revenue for degree-granting, postsecondary institutions in the United States was $695…

Campus Changemaker: Beau Brodbeck

| SDG12, SDG15, SDG8, Sustainability in Action, Updates | No Comments
by Camille Colter, Office of Sustainability When you drink your cup of coffee in the morning, how often do you think about the process and labor involved? If the answer is not a lot or never, Beau Brodbeck wants you to rethink that. Beau has worked for Auburn University since…

I never stopped thinking green…

| Guest Posts, SDG12, Sustainability Auburn Alumni Affiliate, Updates | No Comments
by Jerald Crook Jerald as an Auburn Freshman, holding his teddy bear (Jay). Jay today. “Should I show them my sustainability-themed bear from when I worked at Build-a-Bear?” The three dots from my fellow Auburn band alum Becca’s (‘11) end of the iMessage chat popped up immediately. *bwoop* “Probably not.”…


| Guest Posts, SDG12, Updates | No Comments
by Jesse Teel I started as the Waste Reduction and Recycling Department Coordinator for Auburn University in August. The learning curve is steep when you begin two weeks before the first football game. Gameday operations are a major focus for our department as we add hundreds of trash cans and…

Explore the SDGs & AU