SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns.

The goal of SDG12 is the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources, including the substantial reduction of waste through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse. It also encourages companies to include sustainability information in their reporting cycle. 

Over the next two decades, more people than ever are expected to enjoy increased wealth and improved living standards. Meanwhile, our cities are growing rapidly, with an estimated 1.5 million people added to the global urban population every week, placing a significant burden on infrastructure, services, job creation, and the environment. Along with an increasing global population, these changes will put enormous stress on our environment and resources.

Meeting the challenges of responsible consumption involves uncoupling social and economic development from an ever-increasing rise in material consumption. This requires increasing the net gain achieved from economic activity by reducing resource use and environmental degradation, while still improving quality of life. It will also require systematic cooperation across the value chain, from producer to final consumer, to shift from a linear to circular economy.

Improving the environmental performance of existing industrial facilities is often the most cost-effective measure to help supply-constrained economies meet higher levels of production, without exacerbating their impact on the environment. In this context, the drive for innovation and process optimisation is an important means to develop the necessary solutions to realise cleaner production, efficient resource management, and lower waste and pollution.

Sustainable development also requires significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces. This includes using more sustainable building products and production processes to create more low-carbon, energy-efficient buildings throughout their entire lifecycle.

How CSC is making a positive difference?

The CSC certification system plays a crucial role in advancing Sustainable Development Goal 12 by promoting responsible consumption and production practices within the construction industry. One of the key ways it contributes is through its flexible approach to certification scope. While the emphasis is primarily on the concrete sector and its supply chain, CSC allows individual concrete plants to achieve certification up to the Level Silver even if their suppliers, such as cement and aggregate providers, are not yet certified. This flexibility incentivizes suppliers to adopt sustainable practices to meet CSC standards, thereby promoting responsible production throughout the supply chain. Furthermore, CSC recognizes certificates of responsible sourcing systems for steel production, which expands the reach of sustainable practices beyond concrete to other essential construction materials. By advocating for the adoption of CSC certification across the construction value chain, including stakeholders beyond the concrete sector, CSC drives the adoption of sustainable practices and fosters a culture of responsible consumption and production, in line with the objectives of SDG 12.

Where does it appear in the Technical Manual ?

P5 – Traced Materials
To ensure that all materials are from traceable sources

P5.01 Traceability of materials

M1 – Sustainable Purchasing
To ensure an embedded long-term focus on and implementation of responsible sourcing.

M1.01 Purchasing policy

M1.02 ESG Supplier assessment and performance monitoring

M1.03 Training on responsible sourcing

M1.04 Promotion of responsible sourcing

M1.05 Responsible sourcing as a criterion in the procurement process

Chain of Custody
C1 – Cement
Aim To stimulate the use of sustainable and responsible sourced cement.

C1.01 Weighted average of cement suppliers percentages

C2 – Aggregates
Aim To stimulate the use of sustainable and responsible aggregates.

C2.01 Weighted average of aggregate suppliers percentages

C2.02 Supply chain coverage and CSC supplier certificate

How the cement and concrete industry is making a positive difference

Concrete is a long-lasting and durable material. This characteristic brings a range of benefits – most notable a lifespan that is often longer than that of buildings constructed from other building materials. But it goes far beyond that.

Concrete structures can be repurposed throughout their life and there is growing interest in designing for disassembly to facilitate the removal of concrete components – such as columns, walls, beams and slabs – for their re-use in other buildings. Concrete is fire resistant and resilient to climate-related and natural disasters, making it less likely to need demolition and reconstruction after such catastrophic events. Concrete also does not require additional internal finishes, with exposed concrete available in a range of colours and textures, while also offering important sustainability values, such as passive cooling.

This wide range of benefits means concrete structures can be more resource efficient than others (SDG12.2), while supporting recycling and re-use (SDG12.5) and the development of sustainable urban spaces.

At an operational level, the cement and concrete industry has been a pioneer of the circular economy (even before circular economy was even a term) through the use of industrial by-products, such as fly ash and slags, as supplementary cementitious materials in blended cements. Construction and demolition waste – one of the largest waste streams globally – can also be recycled into new concrete, while there is research into the use of concrete fines as an alternative raw material in cement manufacture.

Meanwhile, the industry is a well-established consumer of non-recyclable waste-derived alternative fuels from a range of sources – municipal, agricultural, chemical, food production, to name a few. The high temperatures reached in cement kilns ensure these are managed in a safe and environmentally sound way, as required by SDG12.4.

Finally, the use of alternative materials and fuels in cement and concrete production reduces the amount of material the industry needs to extract, again helping to achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources required by SDG12.2.

Case studies

Building again with construction and demolition waste

Building a circular economy in the heart of historic French cities

Heelmeesters, N