Sustainability is an intrinsic part of people’s ability to live satisfying lives according to the United Nations Development Programme—which is why, for the first time it has included the Ecological Footprint in its annual Human Development Report. (Download the report here.) It has also developed an interactive tool on its Web site that allows users to apply a suite of indicators— including Ecological Footprint—to build their own development index. The tool allows users to create unique country rankings and comparisons based on the indicators they find most important. (Click here to build your own development index.)
The Human Development Report reveals countries’ latest rankings according to the Human Development Index, a measure that scores countries according to attainment of health, education and income. But, the report explains, “human development is much broader. Empowerment, equity and sustainability are among the intrinsic parts of people’s freedom to lead lives they have reason to value.” The report points out that Norway ranks highest in terms of HDI, but consumes 3.1 times what would be consistent with global sustainability (based on global biocapacity) while the US, which ranks 4th in HDI, consumes 4.5 times that of global biocapacity.