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Footprint Initiative with York University

By establishing the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts within an independent and respected academic network, the Accounts will become an even more effective and trusted reference for decision making in support of sustainability.

Global Footprint Network and York University, Toronto, have established the Footprint Data Foundation (FoDaFo) to make national Ecological Footprint and biocapacity results trusted and relevant, by ensuring their neutrality, transparency, and scientific robustness.

We live on a massively overused planet. We are guided by economic accounts, such as GDP, that are insensitive to ecological imbalances. This makes Ecological Footprint accounting, which gives us the ability to track how much nature we have against how much we demand, fundamental.

Similar to country-level statistics, such as longevity, unemployment, debt, etc., country Footprint assessments are critical because they provide a macro-economic context for policy and financial decisions. All too often, a country is missing statistics that track its resource security. That’s where the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts come in. They offer the ecological context for policy needs and investment decisions of countries, cities, and companies.

Having reliable data or “accounts” for our biological resource situation is empowering because  they help identify inconsistencies between goals and performance. The world needs a credible, neutral entity that analyzes the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts data and makes them widely available. To maximize use and effectiveness, the accounts need to be clear, robust, transparent, and unbiased. As they are ever evolving, the newest data and improved science must be continually incorporated. And as in the scientific process, lessons will be learned from constructive criticisms and adequately addressed in the underlying methodology.

This is the purpose of FoDaFo, supported by the Footprint Initiative of York University.

To amplify the impact of FoDaFo, Global Footprint Network and York University, Toronto, are building an alliance of countries (the “One-Planet Alliance”), to stand behind this rigorous global academic effort to provide neutral and robust National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts.

It is undeniable that economic policies, urban plans, and investments informed by emerging resource and climate realities are more likely to succeed.


FoDaFo aims at:
    1. Producing and maintaining National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts derived from solid and trusted data sources and assembled with academic rigor, to ensure they are robust, objective, and independent;
    2. Establishing an international collaboration of researchers who drive the Accounts’ improvements, increasing their influence, and strengthening their reputation and applicability so that the Accounts will have greater sway among key decision-makers;
    3. Gathering a consortium of governments who contribute to and draw upon the Accounts and adopt them as a key tool in their own decision-making. This consortium is called “One-Planet Alliance“; and
    4. Training a growing pool of researchers skilled in Footprint accounting who can apply their skills and knowledge to advance a world where all can thrive within the means of our planet.

The Ecological Footprint Initiative

Global Footprint Network and York University, Toronto are motivated by a vision of a world in which all can thrive within the limits of our one planet. York University is looking for Masters Students for this initiative. More information at footprint.info.yorku.ca.

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