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Footprint Network Blog
About Global Footprint Network
Our mission is to promote a sustainable economy by advancing the Ecological
Footprint, a measurement tool that makes the reality of planetary limits
relevant to decision-makers.
William E. Rees
M S Swaminathan
Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker
February 2015 Newsletter Article 1
Russia's total biocapacity reserve is second only to Brazil's. Unlike Brazil, however, Russia has been displaying a steady increase in its biocapacity reserve since 1992, according to the latest report on Russia's Ecological Footprint, which was jointly produced by Global Footprint Network and WWF-Russia and is now available in English in addition to Russian. (Biocapacity reserve is calculated by measuring the difference between biocapacity and Ecological Footprint.)
Between 1992 and 2009, Russia’s per capita biocapacity reserve expanded from 0.9 to 2.6 global hectares, due in large part to a decline in per capita consumption and subsequent 24 percent decrease of the country’s carbon Footprint component. This makes Russia unique in having both a relatively large population and increasing biocapacity reserve, stresses the report.
"Russia is in an advantageous position as one of the few nations in the world with a solid biocapacity reserve," said Mathis Wackernagel, President of Global Footprint Network. "It is squarely in Russia’s self-interest to minimize the loss of its biocapacity reserve by managing its resources use wisely. If it fails to do so, Russia will be caught in the same resource crisis that many other countries face."
Protecting Natural Capital in the Greater Mekong Subregion
Managing biocapacity has officially become a priority in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Last month, Global Footprint Network was invited to Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, to present on the Ecological Footprint at a forum about best practices in managing biodiversity landscapes in times of growing ecological constraints.
This forum was one of the "knowledge events" preceding the fourth triennal meeting of the Environment Ministries (EMM4) of the six administrative entities that make up the region (China's Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam.) Titled Increasing Investments in Natural Capital in the Greater Mekong Subregion, the event was organized by the Asian Development Bank. It aimed at scaling up efforts to protect and enhance natural capital to achieve inclusive and sustainable development in the region, starting with identifying effective partnerships across sectors and stakeholders to increase investments regionally and nationally.
The EMM4 joint statement of development partners was delivered by WWF on behalf of the development partners of EMM4, which include Global Footprint Network.
February 2015 Newsletter Article 2
"Bottom-up" in Ireland
Five years after its first residents moved in, Cloughjordan Village in Ireland is remarkably close to achieving one planet living. With an average Ecological Footprint per capita of 2 global hectares (gha), the community is striving to lower that number even further to 1.7 gha – the average biocapacity per person available on the entire planet, based on Global Footprint Network's latest estimates. In order to track and guide their efforts, residents have been using a modified, "bottom-up" Ecological Footprint accounting methodology that is designed to clearly reflect the impact of individual behavior on a household's Ecological Footprint. We spoke to the research coordinator behind the methodology and the study, Vincent Carragher.
Food Footprinting in Beijing
Chinese researchers have introduced the new concept of Ecological Footprint distance (abbreviated as Def) to reveal the average distance that the natural resources required to support a population's Ecological Footprint travel to reach that population. Their study of Beijing's food Ecological Footprint between 2008 and 2012 clearly indicates that the city's demographic growth is reflected in the Def increase over the same period, raising risks associated with food security. Read our interview with lead researcher Xie Gaodi of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research.
February 2015 Newsletter Article 3
Ecological Footprint and Policy Relevance
In a paper recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Policy, Dr. Alessandro Galli, Global Footprint Network’s director of the Mediterranean and MENA regions, explains the rationale behind Ecological Footprint accounting and addresses some misconceptions about the methodology. Through a case study on Morocco, Galli also initiates a discussion on the potential policy usefulness that can be derived from the Footprint and on the guidance the Ecological Footprint can offer during the various stages of the policy-making process. He concludes that, given its cross-cutting approach, the Ecological Footprint is most informative in the "early earning" and "monitoring" steps of the policy cycle. Access the article here.
Top Sustainable Finance Paper
An article on environmental risk in the sovereign bond market, co-authored by Global Footprint Network policy analyst Martin Halle, was one of the top three most downloaded articles in the Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment in 2014. As a result, the article, "Towards a new framework to account for environmental risk in sovereign credit risk analysis," is available for free download until June 30, courtesy of publisher Routledge.
February 2015 Newsletter Article 4
National Footprint Accounts 2015 Available Soon for License
A new edition of Global Footprint Network’s National Footprint Accounts, one of the most widely used natural resource accounting frameworks in the world, will soon be available under a new, more open licensing structure.
Global Footprint Network will offer a new "Public Data Package" as a free download from our website. This will include the latest per-capita Ecological Footprint and biocapacity results as well as country graphics, global Ecological Footprint time series and graphs, and data quality scores for all countries. In addition, a free "Learning License" will offer one-year-old National Footprint Accounts 2014 workbooks (based on 2010 data) for Hungary and the world.
The widely reported Ecological Footprint and biocapacity measures represent a country's demand for natural resources and services and the capacity of its ecosystems to provide them. Each year, hundreds of investors, nations, academics and companies license the National Footprint Accounts, which help decision-makers track the speed and scale of resource and population trends, perform trade analyses, and understand the demand that key economic sectors place on ecosystems.
The 2015 Accounts will include time series for the years 1961 to 2014, with the years 1961 to 2011 based on observed data and the years 2012 to 2014 estimated based on our proprietary "nowcasting" algorithm. The 2015 edition will feature several methodological improvements to calculations for crops grown on marginal land, the fish Footprint in trade, the Ecological Footprint of livestock and regional intensities for electricity imports.
More details about licensing will be available with the official release of the National Footprint Accounts 2015, expected in March.
February 2015 Newsletter Article 5
DON'T MISS: Ecological Footprint Co-creator Mathis Wackernagel in San Francisco, Feb. 11
Mathis Wackernagel, president of Global Footprint Network, will talk on the Living Planet Report and the Ecological Footprint at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco on Feb. 11. He will discuss Ecological Footprint science and the challenges to ensuring sustainable environments globally, nationally and in California. Tickets for the event can be purchased online. The Living Planet Report is also available online at www.footprintnetwork.org/lpr.
One last thing...
Global Footprint Network is pleased to announce that it was just named one of the world’s Top 100 NGOs. In its fourth year, the NGO ranking was published by the Swiss nonprofit Global_Geneva. We are humbled to find ourselves in great company, including Oxfam, Acumen, Grameen Bank and Ceres. And we intend to keep following up on our commitment to foster change.