THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said consumer awareness and education could be pathways to achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs), by encouraging more sustainable practices in production and consumption.

“We will continue and tirelessly push for increased consumer awareness and education on sustainable consumption and production, until everyone in the country becomes a sustainable consumer, practicing sustainability and exercising mindfulness for the planet in their daily consumer practices and behaviors,” Trade Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo said in a statement on Monday.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) had declared last week that the Asia Pacific is unlikely to meet the SDGs.

The SDGs are a set of 17 targets which United Nations members have committed to meet by 2030. They include eradicating poverty, eliminating hunger, improving the health and well-being of populations, and improving the quality of education, among others.

The Philippines was the only country that has exceeded the regional average for SDG 12 — responsible consumption and production — since 2015, according to ESCAP’s Progress Report 2023.

“Following the results of the ESCAP Progress Report 2023 on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the DTI vows to continuously promote and advocate SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production,” the DTI said.

Some of the Philippines’ programs include partnerships with the National Youth Commission and the Department of Education to include sustainable consumption and production in the curricula for primary and secondary education, and the development of standards and eco-labeling to increase consumer awareness of sustainable consumption.

Another initiative was the ASEAN Toolkit on Sustainable Consumption, launched in September, which consists of tools and materials that help government officials, consumer associations, and businesses to improve their understanding of sustainable consumption. The DTI led the creation of the toolkit and was funded by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund.

The DTI also partnered with the Plastic Credit Exchange, which allowed businesses to invest in environmental projects to reduce their carbon footprint via plastic offsetting.

“The DTI also appreciates the collective works and efforts of the government, private sector, and various consumer groups for responding to the call to promote and advance the sustainable development agenda. The Department urges everyone to be the driving force, be sustainable champions and help the country achieve the SDG targets by 2030,” it said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave