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About the Global Footprint Network
We coordinate international research and work with the sustainability community
to develop methodological standards that protect and enhance the credibility of
the Ecological Footprint tool.
William E. Rees
M S Swaminathan
Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker
Herman E. Daly
Welcome to the first edition of Footprint Network News. The mission of the Global Footprint Network is to support the transition to a sustainable economy by advancing the Ecological Footprint, a tool that makes sustainability specific. This edition of Footprint Network News focuses on our new organization's mission and progress to date. Future editions will highlight the exciting work of our partners and report on major events in the world of Ecological Footprinting.
Why the Global Footprint Network?
When Bill Rees and Mathis Wackernagel began developing the Footprint methodology
over a decade ago at the University of British Columbia, they imagined people all
over the world using these calculations to measure consumption and waste. Today,
we have come a long way towards that reality. Over 100 cities and 40 regional
and national government agencies have used the Footprint to inform their policies
and planning. A Google search for the term yields over 50,000 web pages.
But for the Ecological Footprint to have greater impact, increased coordination
is needed between practitioners to ensure that results are comparable worldwide. In June 2003, after four fruitful years with Redefining Progress, Mathis Wackernagel formed the Global Footprint Network and began the process of
building consensus among the many Ecological Footprint practitioners, advocates,
researchers and educators in order to harmonize methodologies and coordinate research.
Response throughout the Ecological Footprinting community has been very positive.
Our Science and Policy Advisory Council
We are thrilled to announce the formation of our Science and Policy Advisory Council. We are fortunate to have the support and endorsement from some of the world's most respected science and policy leaders including E.O. Wilson, Peter Raven, Oscar Arias, David Suzuki and others.
Synergy Through Partnership
By Susan Burns, Director
Since our success depends on involved partners, we are thrilled and proud to announce
our first four: WWF International, Best Foot Forward, Stockholm Environmental Institute
and EPA Victoria. We are in conversation with dozens of other organizations and will announce
new partners in subsequent newsletters.
We invite organizations with shared goals to partner with us in strengthening the Footprint's reliability and credibility while enhancing its value as a catalyst for sustainability.
||RESEARCH AND STANDARDS UPDATE
Laying the Groundwork for Standards
Many organizations around the world have developed Ecological Footprinting applications for cities, regions, products and processes. Over the past six months the Global Footprint Network has met with scores of organizations (by phone and in face-to-face meetings) in Europe, South America, The US, and Australia to listen to the community and collect advice and perspectives. We've found great enthusiasm about the possibility of harmonizing Footprint methodologies.
National Accounts Release (2004 Edition)
All Ecological Footprint analyses are dependent on core information comprising the National
Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts or "National Accounts," detailed calculations for 150
countries based largely on United Nations consumption, production and trade data. The National
Accounts, as summarized in
WWF's Living Planet Report,
are the cornerstone of footprinting and allow the Footprint of a Londoner to be compared, for example, to the Footprint of a Beijing
The Global Footprint Network serves as the steward of the National Accounts database, coordinating research and continually improving the science behind the Accounts for the benefit of the
entire sustainability community. The 2004 edition of the National Accounts will be available for license shortly.