Footprint Committees and the Standards Process

In 2004, Global Footprint Network initiated a consensus, committee-based process to achieve two key objectives:

  • Establish a scientific review process for the Footprint methodology
  • Develop application and communication standards.

These Footprint Committees, which began operating in the spring of 2005, are comprised of members drawn from the Network's partner organizations, and represent academia, government, NGOs and consulting firms.

Two committees are now overseeing scientific review procedures and standards for Footprint calculations. The Committees Charter provides more detail on the objectives and procedures for each of the committees.

  • The National Accounts Committee supports continual improvement of the scientific basis of the National Footprint Accounts, which provide conversion factors that translate quantities of resources used into the bioproductive land or sea area required to generate these resources. These conversion factors serve as the reference data for Footprint applications at all scales.
  • The Standards Committee develops standards and recommends strategies to ensure that the Footprint is applied and reported in a consistent and appropriate manner in all key domains, at a variety of scales, and over time.

From these committee activities, draft protocols and standards are being developed and circulated for feedback. This will be an iterative process, managed by the committees with the support of Footprint Network staff. Pilot testing of protocols and standards will help refine them and confirm their applicability to real-world Footprint projects.

In order to guarantee both transparency and the best possible standards, standards development is following ISEAL guidelines, with opportunities for both partner and public comment during the development process.

Regular Review

Protocols and standards will be reviewed on a regular basis, and revised as necessary. The goal is to establish continuous improvement in both the scientific basis and transparency of the methodology, and the quality and consistency with which Ecological Footprint applications are conducted and findings communicated.

Future Standardization Plans

Future plans include the development of a third-party certification system whereby practitioners can have their applications audited for adherence to the standards. Footprint assessments found to conform to the standards would then be issued a quality seal. Certification will ensure that assessments are accurate, consistent, and up-to-date, and are using methodology and conversion factors from the most recent edition of the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts.


Ecological Footprint Standards 2006

© 2003-2007 Global Footprint Network
Last Updated: 01/03/2007

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