Target 16. Sustainable consumption choices are enabled, and food waste reduced by half
Ensure that people are encouraged and enabled to make sustainable consumption choices, including by establishing supportive policy, legislative or regulatory frameworks, improving education and access to relevant and accurate information and alternatives, and by 2030, reduce the global footprint of consumption in an equitable manner, including through halving global food waste, significantly reducing overconsumption and substantially reducing waste generation, in order for all people to live well in harmony with Mother Earth.
Unsustainable consumption is an underlying driver of biodiversity loss. Halting and ultimately reversing biodiversity loss will require a shift towards more sustainable consumption patterns. This means consuming resources and producing waste at a level within planetary boundaries. Governments have a central role to play in making information available and accessible to consumers who, in turn, can make better and more informed consumption choices.
This target calls for measures to be put in place to encourage people to make more sustainable consumption choices so that overconsumption and waste generation are significantly reduced. The target identifies the following elements to accomplish this:
- Sustainable consumption choices – In order for consumers to make more sustainable choices they need to be enabled and encouraged to do so. To this end the target calls for supportive policy, legislative or regulatory frameworks to be put in place and for education and access to relevant and accurate information and for alternatives to be improved.
- Global footprint of consumption – Overconsumption is a major underlying cause of biodiversity loss. Humanity’s use of biological resources continues to exceed the Earth’s capacity to regenerate them. This global footprint of consumption must be reduced for the 2050 Vision to be reached. However, it is essential that this reduction occurs in an equitable manner. Currently some areas of the world are having a disproportionately large impact on the global footprint of consumption while others are consuming resources at far lower rates. Similarly, in some regions, consumption, particularly of food, will need to increase significantly to ensure that other societal objectives, such as eliminating poverty and hunger, can be reached. Ensuring that consumption patterns remain within biological limits in an equitable way is essential to living in harmony with Mother Earth.
- Halving global food waste – Globally large amounts of food are produced but then wasted with various, environmental, social and economic impacts. This target specifically calls for food waste to be reduced by half. Reducing food waste can provide multiple benefits to reach societal objectives associated with biodiversity, climate change, the elimination of hunger and poverty.
- Waste generation – The products that people consume generate waste through the processes used to manufacture them as well as when they, or parts of them, are discarded. This issue can be addressed by finding and promoting efficiencies in production processes, by encouraging lower levels of consumption and putting in place measures to encourage the re-use and recycling of waste materials.
- Actions to reach Target 16 should take into account all of the considerations for implementation identified in section C of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
- Progress towards this target will help to reach goals A and B of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Progress towards this target will also help to reach targets 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. Conversely progress towards targets 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 will facilitate progress towards this target.
- Elements of this target were previously addressed in Aichi Biodiversity targets 1 and 4
- Elements of Target 16 are also addressed in the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, including targets 4.7, 8.4, 9.4, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.5, 12.8 and 12.a
- Elements of this target are addressed in UNEA resolution 5/14 to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution
- Target 16 also links to processes under the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, a global commitment by the 193 United Nations Member states to accelerate a shift to sustainable consumption and production.
- What measures are in place to encourage sustainable consumption and production? How do these address food waste and waste generation? How effective have these been? How could their effectiveness be improved?
- What are the opportunities for and constraints to taking steps to achieve or implement plans for sustainable consumption? What are the potential ecological, economic, and social costs and benefits of addressing unsustainable consumption and production?
- Who are the actors that may be affected? How can they be involved, and their needs addressed? What are the trade-offs to consider? Are there actors who could also act as champions for more sustainable consumption?
- What additional resources (financial, human and technical) will be required? How can additional resources be raised? What are the possible sources for these resources
The monitoring framework for the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework identifies the following indicators for this target:
- Food waste index
- Material footprint per capita
- Global environmental impacts of consumption
- Ecological footprint
- Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development, including gender equality and human rights, are mainstreamed at all levels in: (a) national education policies, (b) curricula, (c) teacher education and (d) student assessments
- Recycling rate
- Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), e.g., Lifecycle Impact Assessment Method based on Endpoint Modelling (LIME)
- Levels of poverty in developing communities
- IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
- United Nations Environment Programme (2021). Food Waste Index Report 2021
Tools and guidance
- UN SDGs Sustainable consumption and production: facts and figures
- FAO Food wastage footprint: impacts on natural resources
- UNESCO Biodiversity Learning Kit vol 1
- One Planet Network Communication guide for linking consumption with biodiversity
- One Planet Network Integrating biodiversity into sustainable production and consumption activities: The way forward for business policy brief
Note from the Secretariat: This guidance material provides an overview of the target by briefly introducing key terms, highlighting some of the implications for national target setting, and providing key points and guiding questions for consideration as part of national target-setting exercises. It also identifies the adopted indicators to monitor progress and resources that could assist with national target setting and implementation. This material should be considered a work in progress, and it will be periodically updated with inputs from Parties and partner organizations in the light of experiences with its use. This information is meant to serve as a resource that Parties and others may wish to consider as they implement the Global Biodiversity Framework. It does not replace or qualify decision 15/4 or 15/5.