Goal #12

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

UNSW is committed to this goal and demonstrates its commitment through:

  • research and thought leadership that addresses responsible consumption and production
  • courses that focus on sustainability and PRME principles, including life cycle engineering principles and practices 
  • implementing sustainable procurement practices and systems to reduce, segregate and recycle our own waste.

Are we becoming less sustainable?

Despite the development of more efficient products like LED lights, flatscreen TVs and fuel efficient cars, our consumption and production patterns have become less sustainable. How? The answer is complex but has a lot to do with the rebound effect, where an increase in technology efficiency drives an increase in consumption, eradicating all gains in the ecoefficiency. Improvements in production patterns have made many products more efficient and often cheaper, and in response to this we have been consuming a lot more of them.

In this video, Professor Sami Kara from the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, UNSW, breaks down some of the key challenges behind SDG #12.

 Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla of the SMART Centre

World first SMaRT Centre 

Professor Veena Sahajwalla opened the world’s first e-waste microfactory in 2018 at UNSW’s Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT Centre). The core aims of the SMaRT Centre are to develop novel research for sustainable materials and manufacturing processes, build industry partnerships to activate research for real world impact, and to disseminate green materials and manufacturing technologies that benefit industries, local communities, and enhance sustainable economic growth internationally. 

Find out more

ABC Australian Story

Over many months, producers of Australian Story have been following Veena as she goes about her work leading various national research programs involving leading institutions and universities and a wide range of industry, government and community organisations.


Watch the full episode


UNSW Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability is a key element of our 2025 Strategy. Our students and staff are actively engaged in environmental and social issues. We recognise that we are uniquely positioned to contribute to solving global environmental challenges through teaching, research, thought leadership and demonstrating leading practices on our campuses.

UNSW documents Icon

UNSW Sustainable Procurement Framework

UNSW launched its Sustainable Procurement Vision 2018-2025, aimed at delivering outstanding environmental, social and economic benefits to UNSW students, staff and community through understanding and strengthening UNSW supply chains.

Read now

UNSW documents Icon

UNSW Environmental Sustainability Plan

UNSW has a history of environmental stewardship across research, learning & teaching and campus operations across several decades. The Environmental Sustainability Plan (ESP) will build on past achievements, while raising our ambition levels to meet the environmental challenges of today.

Read now

Sustainable Manufacturing and Life Cycle Engineering Research Group

UNSW Sustainable Manufacturing and Life Cycle Engineering Research Group 

The Research Group was established in 1998 within the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, UNSW, and partnered with ARC and Baxter Australia to investigate how energy and water flow in manufacturing environments in order to identify the hot spots for reduction or reclamation of energy and water usage

Find out more

Breaking the chain of modern slavery

UNSW is committed to ensuring a strong response to modern slavery, ensuring:

  • UNSW operations and supply chains do not cause, involve or contribute to modern slavery; and
  • UNSW suppliers, collaborators and others with whom UNSW does business, respect and share the University’s commitment to minimising the risk of modern slavery.

Find out more

Related stories

More SDGs