Among the Sustainable Development Goals, number 12 caught my attention, which refers to “Responsible production and consumption”, an objective that people of my generation have taken into account out of sheer necessity, given that our purchasing power and storage was extremely limited. It was bought for the day and there was no room for much waste, the neighborhood store sold with exact precision, an ounce of chocolate, 100 grams of tuna, a quarter and a half of chickpeas.
The food market was a little more lavish, but the transactions were very adjusted to daily needs and in some cases, if prices allowed, a little more was bought to use later using traditional conservation formulas.
The truth is that in urban areas the universe of consumption was more limited than in rural areas, since in them surpluses could be generated with the slaughter and its derived uses or with the possibilities of storage and transformation of the products.
It was a society where food was valued and not wasted, when children went to school and brought a sandwich, they tried, if they did not eat it, to leave it in a point where another person who took advantage of it had access, they never threw themselves on the ground not in the trash.
Subsequently, and due to socio-economic development, a consumer society model was implemented that made us forget the traditional habits of saving and taking advantage of food, together with a compulsive way of buying with the excuse that nothing was missing; it was no longer enough to satisfy basic food needs, efforts were being made to meet a new model of demand, perhaps more hedonistic, but one that would guarantee the sufficiency of food and the need to whet the appetite with the variety of products, counting on the availability of storage with cold equipment and the improvement of the durability capacity of many products.
The result is that products, both perishable and non-perishable, were stored in households above the real consumption capacity of the family unit.
The consequences were that when a minimum loss of their organoleptic capacities was glimpsed, they were discarded and not used.
On the other hand, the food distributors overdimensioned the offer to maintain customer loyalty, while generating very competitive prices or so they presented them, to encourage the purchase of food and that, in the vast majority of cases , exceed the real consumption needs and determining a prolonged storage that favored the risk of expiration of what was acquired.
This consumption situationbased on waste and discarding, it is a problem with a complex solution and that collides head-on with the concept of sustainability, but that can only be remedied with education, self-control and the rules of the market.
The real problem is not so much that of responsible production as that of responsible distribution and the control that the large distributors exercise over it; because they force productive efficiency to be achieved with the constant increase of what is produced, since there is no adequate relationship between the value of a unit of product and the price imposed by the demand, in this case the distributors, forcing the producers to generate the benefit based on the increase in the volume produced, which tends to affect the quality of what is produced in most cases.
On the other hand, we must consider in this aspect the cost of logistics, which greatly affects the final product, and can determine the level of consumption and its territorial scope; a situation that at present seemed overcome and now prevails again with the increase in the price of transport freight, which will mean a leap backwards in consumption habits and in the flows of products in the global market, especially in the fruits of seasonal character season.
I personally understand that the model of production, distribution and consumption is going to experience a substantial change and that, to a certain extent, this objective of sustainable development is going to force, if a series of parameters are not corrected, to go from globalization to “ localization”, that is, to our immediate territorial environment, where new spaces can be configured for the generation of the supply of agri-food products, basic for the diet, destined for urban agglomerations, as has traditionally been happening in peri-urban areas , while the specialized ones and those with higher added value, will be able to support the supervening costs of the new logistics systems. This approach puts certain urban policies
in crisisthat have been characterized by changes in land use in traditional fertile plains, with soils of great agronomic aptitude, for urban residential land, for the sole reason that they are cheaper to develop; aspect that highlights, once again, the concept of responsible consumption.