Transforming SCPs for achieving SDGs

The world is on the cusp of a widespread debt crisis, the top UN official said, noting that many countries face “an impossible choice” between servicing their debt or protecting their most vulnerable communities and fighting the pandemic.

Explaining that “debt defaults can have devastating social consequences”, he made clear that many countries lack financial market access to enable them to service their debt.

Consumer confidence is waning, with 78% of Americans living pay check to pay check before the health crisis began, confidence was already pretty low. Unfortunately, fundamental problems facing the labour force have gotten worse: The pandemic has caused 30 million Americans to file for unemployment in March and April. And a 2019 survey by Capital One found that 68% of small business owners feel unprepared for a recession.

Businesses must diversify revenue streams, reduce risk, get financing, and retain existing customers—many of whom will have different expectations in a new-norm

With existing institutional arrangements, developed in an era of continued economic expansion, curtailing consumption would have serious socioeconomic consequences. The 2030 Agenda is based on the assumption that with technological progress, resulting in enhanced efficiency, society will be able to overcome this contradiction—a view that is popular in policy circles but not well supported by science. The solution to this dilemma lies rather in a restructuring of the economic and social arrangements that require endless growth in consumption. The United Nations formulated the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in 2015 as a comprehensive global policy framework for addressing the most pressing social and environmental challenges currently facing humanity. Despite long-standing political recognition of this objective, and ample scientific evidence both on its importance and on the efficacy of various ways of promoting it, the SDGs do not provide clear goals or effective guidance on how to accomplish this urgently needed transformation.

There exists a substantial gap between current scientific understanding of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and how the field is articulated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The implementation of SDG 12 inherently helps achieve a range of interlinked goals. The nexus of SCP and SDGs makes their achievement interdependent. The governments and other organisations should adopt a systemic perspective. With existing institutional arrangement, developed in an era of continued expansion, curtailing consumption would have serious socioeconomic consequences. To avoid this problem, a restructuring of the economic and social arrangements that require endless growth in consumption is needed.

Written by: Rahul Menon

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