Why We Measure: It’s All About People and Our Planet’s Well-being

Jay Owen Beyond GDP

Why We Measure: It’s All About People and Our Planet’s Well-being

From the Editor

As we wind down the year, we’re reflecting on the many leaders and organizations we’ve worked with around the world. 2013 has been an especially gratifying year as we celebrated our organization’s tenth anniversary. Below are just a few highlights from the past few months:


2013 Philippines Footprint Report Reveals Climate Change Vulnerability

Philippines Climate Change Commissioner, Nadarev Sano, who recently gained international attention for his impassioned speech at the opening of the U.N. climate talks in Warsaw, has been one of the most outspoken champions of the use of the Ecological Footprint.

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Climate Change is About People

A point often lost in climate change discussions is that it’s about people, Pati Poblete, Global Footprint Network Asia Regional Director, reminds us in a recent San Francisco Chronicle op-ed on the impact of Typhoon Haiyan. Pati also reminds us that “Sustainability is not just an environmental or moral issue. It’s about the well-being of humanity and our planet,” in Global Footprint Network’s new overview video.

Investor Rings Alarm Bells About Natural Resources Commodity Prices

For those of you following our work with the finance industry, you are most likely aware of the effect of rising commodity prices on the national economies of the world. No one makes the case better than Jeremy Grantham, chief investment strategist at the global investment management firm GMO. Read this thought-provoking interview with Grantham in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year.


2013 Francophonie Atlas Launched at the Climate COP19 in Warsaw

French-speaking countries span the globe from Laos to Madagascar. We’ve recently taken a close look at their collective ecological health in our new report: Atlas of the Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity of Francophonie Countries, which notes that 28 of 40 Francophonie countries are in ecological deficit — that is, their populations demand more than their ecosystems can supply. The study, a collaboration with IFDD-OIF and UICN, was released at the UN’s COP19climate change talks in Warsaw. The report is a first step to deeper engagement with these nations as they navigate a resource-constrained future.


2013 Hong Kong Footprint Report Reveals Ecological Deficit

Did you know that if Hong Kong were a country, it would have the world’s 26th largest per capita Ecological Footprint? Hong Kong’s demands for renewable resources and ecological services is more than 150 times greater than what its own ecosystems can provide, Global Footprint Network and WWF-Hong Kong reveal in the2013 Hong Kong Ecological Footprint report, released on Earth Overshoot Day. “The earth is like a bank … and we are now dipping into its savings of natural resource capital. It will be a crisis for us and for the future of our children,” Gavin Edwards, WWF-Hong Kong Director of Conservation, told the South China Morning Post.

WBCSD’s “Pitch for Nature” Video Explains Why Businesses Should Care About Natural Capital

What does nature provide for your business? And shouldn’t it be on your balance sheet? Global Footprint Network helped produce the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)’s “Pitch for Nature” video, launched at the inaugural World Forum on Natural Capitallast month.

The Mediterranean Region is Depleting its Ecological Resources

If world commodity prices continue to be as volatile as they have been over the past ten years the Mediterranean region faces a serious risk of supply disruption, explain Alessandro Galli and Martin Halle, members of Global Footprint Network’s Research & Standards team, in an esglobal op-ed. They calculate that just a 10 percent increase in commodity prices — a modest estimate given the fluctuations of the last decade — would worsen Mediterranean countries’ trade balance by the equivalent of 0.1 to 2.4 percent of their respective national GDP.

What’s Your Birthday Wish for Global Footprint Network?

We celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary with events in both Switzerland and Oakland, California. Supporters, donors, partners and staff— both past and present— reflected on all we’ve accomplished together. We look forward to many more years of advancing the Ecological Footprint and achieving our goal of living within the means of one planet.




Q&A with WWF-Brazil’s Geralda Magela da Silva and Terezinha Martins

WWF-Brazil’s tireless efforts to champion the Ecological Footprint as a powerful environmental mobilization and communications tool has helped fuel a national dialogue on sustainability and resource consumption in even this biocapacity-wealthy nation. WWF-Brazil’s Conservation Analyst Terezinha Martins and Communications Analyst Geralda Magela da Silva discuss how the Ecological Footprint has gained traction, particularly through the organization’s work with the city of Campo Grande.

Geralda Magela da Silva

Terezinha Martins

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The Opportunity of Scientific Debate

From time to time, the ecological footprint enjoys spikes in media coverage stemming from our campaigns, scientific reports and our work with governments. Some of this media coverage occurs in response to criticism of the science underlying the Footprint accounting methodology, or of the validity of the results.

As a science-based organization, global footprint network welcomes scientific debate, as it helps us maintain our scientific rigor, improve our methodology and ensure its transparency. We have even published our own criticisms of the methodology to help drive its continuing refinement and comprehensiveness. And when a published critique is based on a mistaken understanding of how the methodology works or the research question it is intended to address, it provides us with a welcome opportunity in the media to clarify just what the Footprint is, and why it is so useful.

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We’re Hiring

global footprint network needs more talented and dedicated people to lead our cutting edge programs. We are looking for leaders with a passion for global sustainability in a variety of capacities from research to project management. Please review the opportunities we have available and consider joining our team.

External Affairs Associate (Oakland)
Director of Media and Strategic Relationships (Oakland)
Salesforce Coordinator / Ambassador (Oakland)