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Our Impact

From educating villagers in India to helping shape sustainability policy for multinational corporations, Global Footprint Network has had far-reaching impact since its inception more than a decade ago.




Annual Impact Reports

Since our inception in 2003, we engaged with more than 70 countries on six continents, got more than 15 national governments to apply the metric, and partnered with more than 80 organizations on numerous projects, including WWF’s Living Planet campaign and UNEP with GEO Reports.

To expand our reach, we launched our Ecological Footprint Explorer open data platform in 2016, making our Footprint and biocapacity data for more than 200 countries available for free. Our individual Ecological Footprint Calculator currently draws almost 3 million users per year, for a cumulative 13 million since it was launched online in 2007. In 2018 the annual Earth Overshoot Day campaign, which we started in 2006, reached more than 3 billion media impressions in more than 100 countries.

Find the highlights of our work around the world in our annual impact reports.

Policy Impact

Decision-makers at all levels turn to the Ecological Footprint to better understand
resource needs, limits, and dependencies and guarantee citizens' well-being and
economic prosperity.

Switzerland
In December 2006, Switzerland became the first country in the world to complete a review of its National Footprint Accounts....   More ›

Business

Private sector leaders around the world have turned to our data to raise sustainability awareness with internal and external stakeholders.

Google Environmental Report

“Humanity is using natural resources at an astonishing rate,” Google notes in its first comprehensive Environmental Report, released at the end of 2016. In a section titled “Addressing a global challenge,” Google cites Global Footprint Network data from Earth Overshoot Day: “In 2015, global demand for resources was equivalent to 1.5 times what the earth can support in one year.” Kate Brandt, Google’s lead for sustainability, spoke about Earth Overshoot Day at SXSW Eco in 2016 (see 11:50 – 13:00).

Philips: Healthy People, Sustainable Planet

A five-year sustainability program launched in June 2016 by Royal Philips was inspired by Global Footprint Network’s Ecological Footprint-UN Human Development Index (HDI) framework, as included in WWF International’s Living Planet Report. As noted on Philips’ website, the company developed its sustainability program based on two dimensions: 1) social dimension (HDI) and 2) ecological dimension (Footprint).

The New Agenda for Business

Global Footprint Network participated in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Vision 2050 project by creating a scenario calculator that helped business leaders run the numbers on various ecological scenarios and solutions. Vision 2050 identified the scope of ecological challenges the corporate sector will face in the coming years and outlined a pathway for achieving a sustainable world by 2050. The project involved the participation of companies such as Boeing, Syngenta, Weyerhauser, Procter & Gamble, Alcoa, Duke Energy, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

“I continue to use Global Footprint Network’s numbers more than any other (except perhaps 2 degrees).”
STEVE HOWARD, Former Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA

Education and Action

We inspire and mobilize individuals through education and advocacy campaigns, including Earth Overshoot Day and our Footprint Calculator.

Footprint Calculator

More than 2 million people around the world, including students and educators, use our calculator to measure their Ecological Footprint and learn more about what they can do to tread more lightly on the Earth. In August 2017, we launched a new mobile-friendly version of our calculator with updated data, methodology, and graphics, now available in six languages.

Earth Overshoot Day

Earth Overshoot Day is our annual campaign that marks the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the entire year. The campaign drew coverage from nearly 2,000 media outlets around the world in 2017, including major publications such as USA Today, Le Monde, and The Independent.

“I’ve used the Footprint calculator in a mix of classes—undergrad and graduate and an ecology class for non-majors—to get students to think about how they impact the globe and its ecosystems. It’s very useful. Most people I know who teach ecology use it in some way.”
JOHN CALLAWAY, Professor and Graduate Program Director for MS in Environmental Management, University of San Francisco

Our Work with WWF

We have been working with World Wildlife Fund for more than a decade to support its mission: To stop the degradation of our planet's natural environment, and build a future in which people live in harmony with nature.

Footprint and Biodiversity

In order to achieve its mission, WWF focuses its efforts on two broad areas: 1) Biodiversity – to ensure that the Earth web of life stays healthy and vibrant for generations to come; and 2) Footprint – reducing the negative impacts of human activity – our Ecological Footprint – and that the use of natural resources required for life are managed sustainably and equitably.

Living Planet Report

Every two years, WWF publishes the Living Planet Report, the world’s leading science-based analysis on the health of our planet and the impact of human activity. Global Footprint Network has collaborated with WWF on the biennial Living Planet Report since 2000. The 2018 report shows that the over-exploitation of ecological resources by humanity has contributed to a 60 percent plunge in wild vertebrate populations from 1970 to 2014.

“When I was working on the earliest environmental conventions to protect ecosystems, it was clear that to succeed we had to bring back nature into people’s minds and hearts. But in spite of our efforts, and impressive successes, we have not succeeded enough. Ecosystems are becoming ever more strained, yet we run our economies as if it doesn’t matter. This is why I am so taken by the simple yet powerful approach the Ecological Footprint offers any of us, from young people all the way to finance ministers. This is why I believe in Global Footprint Network’s work, and invite you to join it.”

DR. LUC HOFFMANN, Co-Founder, WWF, and President Emeritus, MAVA Foundation (1923 – 2016)

Donate today to help us create even more impact. With your help, we can succeed in creating a future where all people flourish within the means of our one and only planet.