As defined by the Oslo Symposium in the year 1994, sustainable consumption and production (SCP) is about "the use of services and related products, which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimising the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardise the needs of further generations” (UNEP, 2012, p.21).
The concept of sustainable consumption and production was later recognised in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and adopted in the year 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (UNEP, 2012, p.27).
“On that occasion, sustainable consumption and production was identified as one of the three overarching objectives of, and essential requirements for, sustainable development, together with poverty eradication and the management of natural resources in order to foster economic and social development. It was acknowledged that fundamental changes in the way societies produce and consume are indispensable for achieving global sustainable development. The 10- year framework of programme (10YFP) on sustainable consumption and production patterns was adopted at the Rio+20 Conference, through Paragraph 226.” (United Nations Webpage)
Achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12 requires a strong national framework for sustainable consumption and production that is integrated into national and sectoral plans, sustainable business practices and consumer behaviour, together with adherence to international norms on the management of hazardous chemicals and wastes. (United Nations Webpage)
“Sustainable consumption and production is about promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. Its implementation helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce future economic, environmental and social costs, strengthen economic competitiveness and reduce poverty.
Since sustainable consumption and production aims at “doing more and better with less,” net welfare gains from economic activities can increase by reducing resource use, degradation and pollution along the whole life cycle, while increasing quality of life. There also needs to be significant focus on operating on supply chain, involving everyone from producer to final consumer. This includes educating consumers on sustainable consumption and lifestyles, providing them with adequate information through standards and labels and engaging in sustainable public procurement, among others.” (United Nations Website)
UNEP (2010) presented the principles of Education for sustainable-consumption and production as following: “Education for Sustainable Consumption (ESC) aims at providing knowledge, values and skills to enable individuals and social groups to become actors of change towards more sustainable consumption behaviours. The objective is to ensure that the basic needs of the global community are met, quality of life for all is improved, inefficient use of resources and environmental degradation are avoided. ESC is therefore about providing citizens with the appropriate information and knowledge on the environmental and social impacts of their daily choices, as well as workable solutions and alternatives. ESC integrates fundamental rights and freedoms including consumers’ rights, and aims at empowering citizens for them to participate in the public debate and economy in an informed and ethical way.” (UNEP, 2010, p.13)