United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Sustainable Living 1.5: All Hands on Deck


    UNEP’s global sustainable living initiative ALL HANDS ON DECK! is based on Anatomy of Action (AOA) an SDG 12 focused social media tool that shows our daily impacts and evidence based actions on how to live better and lighter. It reactivates challenges local and global, feeding into events/global processes, to raise awareness (# of viewers) and create a mosaic of sustainable living today (youth posts globally)! Developed with UnSchool, One Planet Network and global experts it works thru partnerships with universities, youth organizations/influencers, companies, initiatives and institutions. Targets 5 living areas: food, move, stuff, money and fun and middle class urban youth (who use social media) thru tracks on Nature, Climate, Education to feed into summits and COPs. Reach is now 3 million and 10 million by 2022.


    We are in the SDG Decade of Action. ALL HANDS ON DECK! amplifies awareness, change and feeds into 2022 events (new commitment to SCP (One Planet Network); Stockholm +50 and UNEP +30). The objective is to make sustainable living and lifestyle values, attitudes, and behaviours the norm. The underpinning AOA translates sustainable living into desirable, easy, everyday actions that resonate with people. It builds on how people make choices, recasting evidence-based messaging and engaging strategically with channels that shape behaviour and aspirations. UNEP brings science on what is happening, highlights where to target action and builds on social media’s ability to track viewers and create inspirational narratives. It uses energy of challenges, competitions and campaigns to inform, inspire and track action. The initiative weaves existing efforts and better integrates evidence grounded priorities to realign aspirations from ‘more, bigger, faster’ to ‘healthier, smarter, cleaner.

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    Initiative Rationale: SDG 12 will determine SDG implementation yet is lagging behind. Consumption and production systems meet our needs and determine how we live. Youth set today’s trends and are tomorrow’s consumers and decision makers. Households are responsible for 70%+ of GHGs. The AOA translates evidence into what (young) people can take for positive SDG impacts on how we spend money and time on of what sustainable living does and can look like to offer a road map stuff, move, money and fun. It targets SDG 12 yet touches SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, and 15. It harnesses social media - the information and communications channels that influences consumption behaviour. It creates awareness and a mosaic for action

    Implementation methodologies

    ALL HANDS ON DECK! aligns AOA reactivations on thematic tracks with key partners to contribute to global national and local initiatives – generating awareness and documenting a new narrative on what sustainable living looks like. Now at 3 million viewers, 10 million are anticipated in 2022 - setting pace for 2030. Activities: 1) Anchor partners engaged (2019/20) -Global Opportunities for Sustainable Development Goals (GO4SDGs) initiative rolls out SDGs. Component 3 empowers youth for sustainable living and uses AOA as basic tool. -Sustainable Lifestyles and Education Programme: Co-lead by Sweden and Japan, unites global expertise and organizations. One of the One Planet Network Programmes that promote SCP. 2) Engage partners on thematic tracks for key events - Targeted partners: Youth oriented processes/movements, institutions that promote Sustainable living and/or work with youth -Individuals and change catalysts -AOA used to support • Challenges and campaigns: universities, youth groups. • Events and initiatives: festivals, event sessions, webinars, initiatives. • Better communicate sustainability impacts: language / actions people understand. -Thematic tracks: (attached concept note outlines calendar for 2022) • Youth and Climate: ICLEI, UNFCCC, ReGeneration 2030, New York UN events, UNFCCC COP • Youth and Nature: IUCN Youth Summit; IUCN Global Congress • Youth and Education: UNESCO ESD World Conference, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (5/21) • UNEP Youth efforts: UNEA5.1 (2/21), UNEP supported ECOSOC Youth Summit SDG 12 + 13 (4/21), • Playing Wild Cards: Working with youth activists, cultural influencers, and platforms that support them (media platforms, advertisers) 3) Monitoring and resources: -Thru social media metrics, creating global visual mosaic of youth; aspirational visuals, stories, articles, blogs developed with partners amplify messages. See attached products 2/21. -Resources: UNEP sustainable lifestyles team works with inkind partner support. Youth groups, influencers work thru voluntary means. UNEP support to SLE team


    1) Need for global reach – With sustainable living people don’t know what it means or what they can do. Most information is abstract or of developed economy/eco-conscious people and does not reflect global context. For people to act, messages need to be easy. AOA has evidence-based messaging is social media-based so there are metrics on how many have people have seen posts. It covers 5 living areas with 3 options in each. Hashtags’s assigned to action so viewers and actions can be tracked. To show what people are doing and where more energy is needed. Partners engaged with similar objectives and social media presence to maximize message amplification. Anchor tracks reflect sustainability trends: Climate, Nature and youth – and use global (regional and national) related processes. Each track has estimated goals to feed into ultimate goal of 10 million. 2) What does our future look like? AOA translates science into desirable, easy, everyday actions that resonate with people with an engaging platform to promote and document our future. Postings create a mosaic of what sustainable living looks like and inspires global processes to motivate real actions

    Factors and Constraints

    Financing: AOA developed with UNEP financing and rolled out thru partners who provide in-kind support to implement. Investment and human resources: SLE team works with network/partners to ensure smooth running and improved efficiencies. Cultural differences, gender, languages and contexts are integrated. Technology: Trends are fuelled by social media messaging, individuals consult and youth get information. It needs different content development, packaging monitoring. Partnerships: AOA has partnerships so vibrant and responsive to needs and experience. Evidence base: Added value is UNEP evidence for impactful action. Constraints include human resource scarcity in managing social media efforts and the speed at which the area is evolving

    Sustainability and replicability

    Sustained reactivations of the AOA are planned and financed through 2022 with inputs into Stockholm +50. The global Sustainable lifestyles and Education Programme is an core partner that will continue to house AOA, its experience and challenge results. As behaviour change and sustainable living is a core underlying theme in UNEP’s medium term strategy, the area of sustainable living and lifestyles will increasingly evolve. Sustainable living and lifestyles is increasingly referenced in international agreements and related organizations work plans. Within companies there is an increased recognition of the importance in harnessing the power of social media to understanding and meet consumer needs. As implementation of the 2030 agenda moves from concept to personal action – evidence behind the AOA structure and the evidence supported actions will become embedded in change

    COVID-19 Impact

    COVID has made people re-examine how to live including healthcare and interlinked lifestyles systems that meet our daily needs and help us live aspirations. In a world under threat from global health concerns, economic challenges, and biodiversity loss and climate change impacts, our political, living and lifestyle decisions will (collectively) determine our future. As commuting to work and school, travelling, and engaging in face-to-face commercial and social activities came to a halt, we shifted our focus on how we lived and looked more closely at the food we eat, the stuff we buy, the way we move around, how we use our money and the fun things we do. The Initiative takes advantage of this period of reflection when people (governments and business) are rethinking how we live, to highlight the lighter and better options that exist. The five domains detailed in the Anatomy of Action challenge have been refined based on the COVID context are more relevant than ever in enabling mindful consumption and building back better and greener. (see attached COVID and sustainable living messaging piece

    Contact Name
    United Nations Environment Programme
    Geographical coverage

    Global, through all regions

    05 September 2019 (start date)
    30 September 2022 (date of completion)
    Contact Information

    Garrette , Sustainable Living 1.5: All Hands on Deck!