WHAT WE DO | We are an international think tank that provides Ecological Footprint accounting tools to drive informed policy decisions in a resource-constrained world. We work with local and national governments, investors, and opinion leaders to ensure all people live well, within the means of one planet.
Footprint Basics – Overview
Human activities consume resources and produce waste, and as our populations grow and global consumption increases, it is essential that we measure nature’s capacity to meet these demands. The Ecological Footprint has emerged as one of the world’s leading measures of human demand on nature. Simply put, Ecological Footprint Accounting addresses whether the planet is large enough to keep up the demands of humanity.
The Footprint represents two sides of a balance sheet. On the asset side, biocapacity represents the planet’s biologically productive land areas including our forests, pastures, cropland and fisheries. These areas, especially if left unharvested, can also absorb much of the waste we generate, especially our carbon emissions.
Biocapacity can then be compared with humanity’s demand on nature: our Ecological Footprint. The Ecological Footprint represents the productive area required to provide the renewable resources humanity is using and to absorb its waste. The productive area currently occupied by human infrastructure is also included in this calculation, since built-up land is not available for resource regeneration.