12.8 Information and awareness for sustainable development 12.8 Information and awareness for sustainable development

12.8 Information and awareness for sustainable development
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Sub-goal 12.8 aims to provide people everywhere with relevant information and awareness of sustainable development and a way of life in harmony with nature.

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One milestone in Germany is the National Action Plan for the implementation of the UNESCO Global Action Program Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), which was adopted by the National Platform for ESD in 2017. The action plan serves to anchor ESD in the educational landscape structurally and has become an important element of the National Programme on Sustainable Consumption. One concrete initiative with a high degree of communication impact is the German Sustainability Code for Higher Education Institutions (HS-DNK), which is being developed by universities and the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE). The Federal Ministry for the Environment also offers educational materials on sustainable consumer behaviour via the online portal for teachers www.umwelt-im-unterricht.de. There are also numerous educational competitions aimed at raising awareness of sustainability issues in different population groups. One example of this is the challenge ‘Lass’ Machen’ (‘Let’s Make’) (UBA), which is aimed at younger generations. Funding programs such as ‘Promoting Vocational Training for Sustainable Development’ (BMU), for example, address people making decisions about higher education.

In addition, there are numerous initiatives that make sustainability information about product labels or eco-labels widely available. Examples include the national eco-label ‘Blue Angel’ or the promotion of the implementation of the EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme). Germany is also involved in the international ‘Consumer Information Program’ for the development of guidelines for product information. There are also various multi-stakeholder partnerships and networks, such as the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, which promotes sustainable consumption. With regard to the various eco-labels, the Centre of Competence for Sustainable Procurement offers helpful guidance to the public sector and creates transparency. For consumers, the information portal ‘Seal Clarity’ (BMZ) was created for this purpose.

Currently, there is no established monitoring methodology for this sub-goal. However, the ‘UNESCO 1974 Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Cooperation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms’ provides a basis for the development of a monitoring tool. Preliminary work on the development of indicators in Germany exist, for example, in the framework of the implementation activities of the UN Decade of ESD, the Curriculum Framework of the Standing Conference or the German Resource Efficiency Programme II. The BMBF also offers support for the development of indicators for sustainable development education.

Too good for the bin! (Zu gut für die Tonne!)

Every year, around eleven million tons of food waste is generated along the entire food supply chain in Germany, more than six million of it in private households alone. Since 2012, the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) has been showing how consumers can reduce food waste. With its national strategy for reducing food waste, which is currently being further developed, the ministry is focusing not only on private households but also on the primary production, processing, wholesale and retail, and out-of-home catering sectors. The aim is to halve food waste in Germany at retail and consumer level by 2030 and to reduce food waste along the production and supply chain.

At www.zugutfuerdietonne.de, interested parties can find facts about food waste, tips for more sustainable food handling, and creative recipes for the best leftovers. In tutorials, Too Good for the Bin! regularly gives tips on how to recycle food and leftovers. Information is also provided on the wide range of activities in the countries to implement the national strategy. 

With the Too Good for the Bin! - Federal Award, the BMEL has been honoring outstanding projects and their initiators every year since 2016, who contribute to reducing food waste with their concrete ideas, pioneering spirit and great commitment. The award goes to projects from a wide range of areas along the entire food supply chain: from production and trade to the processing of food in restaurants and private households.

The Twitter channel @zgfdt will be used to tweet news related to food appreciation. 
Tools such as checklists, training materials, flyers, guides, apps for reducing food waste and projects that are committed to more appreciation throughout Germany are presented on the Too Good for the Bin! website: https://www.zugutfuerdietonne.de/jetzt-engagieren/.

The "Guide to passing on food to social institutions - legal aspects" offers information on passing on food that is not marketable but suitable for human consumption. The aim of this guide is to facilitate the transfer of food.

12.3 Reducing food losses 12.8 Information and awareness for sustainable development
Competence Centre for Sustainable Consumption (KNK)


Whether it's food, mobility or clothing, consumption as a cross-sectional issue encompasses all areas of our everyday lives. In accordance with that, many ministries and stakeholders are involved in promoting sustainable consumption in Germany. The Competence Center for Sustainable Consumption was established to support their cooperation, the networking of activities, and the exchange and provision of knowledge. Subordinate authorities of several participating ministries work closely together in the Competence Center, and the office is located at the Federal Environment Agency.


12.1 Sustainable consumption and production patterns 12.7 Sustainable public procurement 12.8 Information and awareness for sustainable development
SDG 1 SDG 4 SDG 8 SDG 9 SDG 11
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

Education for Sustainable Development enables people to think and act with a long-term perspective. It enables each individual to understand the effects of his/her/their own actions on the world and to make responsible decisions. The educational concept describes a holistic and transformative education that takes into account the learning content, pedagogy and learning environment. Learners of all ages should be enabled to shape themselves and the society they live in in a sustainable way.
2020 saw the launch of the new UNESCO program "Education for Sustainable Development: Towards achieving the SDGs" (ESD for 2030). As an important driver for the Agenda 2030, UNESCO's follow-up program on ESD is closely linked to the Agenda 2030 and its 17 SDGs.

Like the previous UNESCO World Programme of Action on Education for Sustainable Development (WAP ESD, 2015-2019), the new program aims to anchor education for sustainable development in the education system in the long term. This objective and the national multi-actor process - under the leadership of the BMBF - will therefore also be continued at national level. The focus here is on implementing the National Action Plan for ESD.

The new program also takes up social and psychological prerequisites of each individual as important conditions for transformation and places these more at the center of ESD. It aims to address the empowerment of learners to drive social transformation toward sustainability. Another important goal will be to further promote ESD at the political level.
In accordance with the key role of ESD for all SDGs (see SDG 4.7), ESD also makes an important contribution to the achievement of SDG 12 by providing the necessary organizational competencies.

12.8 Information and awareness for sustainable development

The AskREACH project aims to sensitise consumers, trade and industry throughout Europe to so-called "substances of very high concern". The project is developing a smartphone app that consumers can use to obtain information about such substances or request information from suppliers. The legal framework for this is constituted by the European chemicals regulation REACH.

12.4 Environmentally sound management of chemicals 12.8 Information and awareness for sustainable development
SDG 9 SDG 14 SDG 15
BMU; Environment Ministry Indonesia; Consumers International
Consumer Information Programme for Sustainable Consumption and Production (CI-SCP)

The Consumer Information Programme for Sustainable Consumption and Production (CI-SCP) supports and implements projects, develops strategies and presents existing initiatives to help consumers make sustainable choices. It is led by the Environment Ministries of Germany and Indonesia, and the NGO Consumers International. The programme is supported by a Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee, which provides technical and strategic advice and a network of partners.

12.8 Information and awareness for sustainable development