SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Do you know where your food and water come from? How about where the waste goes once you’re done eating? Do you know how much energy you use when you leave the lights on in your room for the whole day?

We rely on many natural resources in order to survive. As our economy and society progress, the natural resources that we depend on begin to run out. If the world population reaches 9.6 billion by 2050, we would need three planets worth of resources to keep the same lifestyle we have today.

Did you know that one-third of all the food in the world is wasted or lost? Or that households consume 29% of global energy and contribute to 21% of CO2 emissions? If we don’t change our production and consumption habits, we will cause irreversible damage to our environment.

Luckily, small steps can go a long way. SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production explores the ways we can help our environment by making changes to our consumption and production patterns. Two main ways that every one of us can help is by reducing waste and being thoughtful about where we buy our food and clothes. Simple changes can have a big impact on our society.

Our new reading list covers many of these topics and we hope the stories will inspire you to think about ways that you can help improve the community that you live in.

The SDG Book Club makes content available in the six official languages of the United Nations – please see our other pages for more recommendations in ArabicChineseFrenchRussian and Spanish.

On the importance of reading

Reading list

Awesome Buildings book cover

King Leonard’s Teddy

This is an excellent book that not only captures the imagination of children but also teaches everyone to be careful and respectful of everything. Being rich, like King Leonard, doesn’t mean you can replace everything and anything when it breaks or when you don’t want it anymore. The environmental message is powerful for even adults and makes you think about sustainability, reusing and repurposing. This book shares a fantastic message against our culture of throwing things away and the impact this culture has on our planet.

Author: Phoebe Swan | ISBN: 9781786281845| Publisher: Child’s Play

Wild Buildings and Bridges book cover

What a Waste! Where Does Garbage Go?

The book gets exactly right the questions that young people would ask. It manages to answer richly without overwhelming young readers. The combination of enthusiasm for learning captured in the delightful illustrations will make this book appealing to young people who love reading and those who are reluctant readers.

Author: Claire Eamer | Illustrator: Bambi Edlund | ISBN: 9781554519187 | Publisher: Annick Press

Camila Cartographer book cover

The Curious Garden

The book tells a powerful story through gentle narrative and beautiful illustrations. It will encourage all who read it about the rewards of nurturing the world around them. The book also encourages children to have faith that with small things you can change the city/world you’re living on and the impact you can have. Strong storytelling, beautiful illustrations that speak for children.

Author: Peter Brown | ISBN: 9780316015479 | Publisher: Little Brown Books

One Plastic Bag book cover

Curious Questions & Answers About Saving the Earth

Nonfiction books with this format of Q&As with illustrations are popular among children, because even those that are not big fans of reading are browsing through it and reading an answer or two. The way the Q&As are formulated and completed by illustrations is appealing to children to read the next page and the next information.

Author: Camilla de la Bedoyere | Illustrator: Richard Watson | ISBN: 9781786178992 | Publisher: Miles Kelly Publishing

One Plastic Bag book cover

Join the No-Plastic Challenge! A First Book of Reducing Waste

“Join the No-Plastic Challenge!” is an easy-to-read book with simple yet charming illustrations that gives young readers ideas on how to reduce their plastic use. The short texts are perfect for children to follow along and the bright drawings are effective in delivering the message of the book.

Author: Scot Ritchie | ISBN: 9781525302404 | Publisher: Kids Can Press

Reading is a great way to better understand what people from across the globe struggle with in their everyday lives, and it helps us reflect on our own situation. But reading is just the first step: now it’s time to share your book club experiences and how you plan to take action. Each month, we will feature a couple of book clubs on our blog, so get ready to share your story through social media, by using #SDGBookClub and tagging @UNPublications.


We know it can be difficult to stay at home to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19. This is why we created a new guide on how to organize your own SDG Book Club online to connect with your friends and family while sharing the joy of reading. We look forward to hearing about your experience on social media using #SDGBookClub.

How to organize your own SDG Book Club ONLINE

Help us spread the word by downloading our promotional materials. You will find a horizontal banner, bookmark, placard and easy-to-print sign-up sheet for your friends, family and community to join the SDG Book Club!

Sign-up sheet

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Frequently Asked Questions

The SDG Book Club aims to use books as a tool to encourage children ages 6-12 to interact with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a curated reading list ofbooks from around the world related to each of the 17 SDGs in all six official UN languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

A selection committee works together to make the final selection for each of the 17 SDGs, in all six official UN languages —Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. The selection committee consists of members from the United Nations, International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Federation of Librarian Associations (IFLA), European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBA), International Authors Forum (IAF), and International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

Fiction, non-fiction, and other genres that our panel thinks will help educate children about SDGs will be considered.

The reading list is meant for children ages 6-12. However, we encourage parents, educators, and everyone who is interested to read the selected books and help children understand the importance of the SDGs.

The reading list will be published during the first week of every month for 17 months, starting with Goal 1: No Poverty in April 2019 and culminating with Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals in September 2020 for the 5th anniversary of the SDGs.

Yes. Sign up on our homepage to get a monthly email on news and updates. Your privacy is important to us so we would never share your information with third parties or spam your inbox.

No. We do not intend to sell or promote the sale of the books featured in the reading list. If you chose to, you can buy the books online, wherever books are sold, or get a copy at your local bookstore or library.

You can post your thoughts and images on social media using the hashtag #SDGBookClub. Please tag/follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Yes, there are book club meetings taking place all over the world. Check back for a link to the list! (Coming soon)

People can host book club meetings around the world and share their photos via #SDGBookClub. If you would like to organize a public book club meeting, we recommend contacting your local book store, library or school and set it up with them. Please share the planned event on social media using #SDGBookClub and we will add it to the list of events.

You can post feedback on our Facebook page or write an email to:

We sincerely appreciate your interest. However, we are not currently accepting recommendations.

There are actions that you can take beyond just reading the books.

A/ Help your kids to create a poster with a photo or drawing and interesting facts about their favourite character(s) of the book.

B/ Design a reading scavenger hunt for kids using drawings and pictures instead of questions and help them search for things mentioned in the book.

C/ Help your kids write a letter to the local government representative and tell them what you learned in the book and ask them what action(s) they are taking toward a specific Goal.

D/ Organize a parent-child facilitated book discussion for younger kids. Invite your child’s friends and their parents to discuss a book from the reading list at your local library or children’s book store.

E/ Spread the word on social media, using the hashtag #SDGBookClub. We’d love to feature your pictures/videos on our social media.

You can find plenty of Student Resources here. You will find other books aimed at children, as well as the SDG board game. The game aims to help teach children around the world about the Sustainable Development Goals in a child-friendly and straightforward way.

Read to a Child campaign: A global campaign on reading to children to encourage literacy and global citizenship, incorporating the priorities youth and quality education. It is planned to take place in September 2020. More information to come. Please sign up to stay informed.


The International Publishers Association (IPA) is a federation of publishing associations from around the world. The main mandate of the IPA is to promote and defend copyright, support the freedom to publish, promote literacy and reading. IPA is an accredited NGO in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN. IPA supports the SDGs and works particularly closely with WIPO and UNESCO.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. Founded in 1927 in Edinburgh, Scotland at an international conference, we celebrated our 90th birthday in 2017. We now have more than 1,300 Members in nearly 150 countries around the world. IFLA was registered in the Netherlands in 1971.

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization that represents an international network of people from all over the  world who are committed to bringing books and children together. Today IBBY comprises 79 National Sections worldwide.

The European & International Booksellers Federation (EIBF) represents national booksellers associations in the European Union and beyond. EIBF Members in turn have in membership booksellers of all kinds: brick and mortar bookshops, online bookshops, independents, chains.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) is the most important international trade fair of the children’s publishing industry. With over 50 years of experience, BCBF has succeeded in bringing together a unique and diverse global audience: the result is the world’s premium copyright business hub when it comes to publishing with an extra core that extends to all multi-media content for children.

SDG Book Club Chapters Around the World

Our SDG Book Club is expanding and we are excited to see SDG reading lists for children from around the world. In addition to the SDG Book Club in the UN’s six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) there are now chapters in other languages. Visit the SDG Book Club Chapters listed below.


Coming soon


Coming soon


Coming soon