Sustainable Development Goal 12 focuses on ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns, including the use of our natural resources, food waste and disposable waste.
The sport industry can focus on SDG 12 by using sustainably sourced materials for buildings. There are several certifications that constructors can follow to ensure that their buildings are using resources responsibly (ex: LEED). Sport can provide inclusive, and safe infrastructure that is accessible to everyone. This infrastructure can also highlight the need for sustainable energy consumption. By being energy efficient, sport can be leaders in showing how to have a sustainable community.
Sporting events can also focus on reusable, or compostable food packaging. This will go a long way to help diminish the waste produced at sporting events. If sport can take this up, so can other sectors in society.
Sport equipment is also a huge waste problem. We need to come up with a circular economy for our sporting equipment. For swimming, we use fins, snorkels, hand paddles, a training suit, racing suits, swim caps, swim goggles. In certain cases fins and hand paddles can be passed on to other swimmers to reuse once you have outgrown them, but things like suits, caps get worn out and rip over time. In certain elite situations, a swimmer may only wear a racing suit for one swim meet, then throw it away. This is not sustainable consumption. This is similar to other sports.
An important point about a circular economy and sustainable consumption: we have to make it easy for consumers. Humans consume a lot of stuff, and we have to get new stuff. People’s prescription changes in their glasses so they have to get new ones, people get new clothes, things like light bulbs go out. We need to make sure that instead of having a different place for everything, it needs to be centralized in one location. If someone has 10 items that can be reused or recycled but they have to go to 10 different locations, that person is not likely to take back all 10 items. Most will end up in the trash. This is an issue that needs to be resolved, not specific to sports.