Ecological Footprint

Ecological Footprint

Managing Our Biocapacity Budget

Mathis Wackernagel, Bert Beyers, Katharina Rout


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  • Author is the president and co-founder of the Global Footprint Network
  • He is an internationally respected speaker and the winner of several prestigious environmental awards including 2018 the World Sustainability Award , 2015 the IAIA Global Environment Award and 2012 the Blue Planet Prize
  • He has twice been listed among the world's most inspiring people by the OOOM magazine
  • Named him one of the Zeronaut 50 Roll of Honor by John Elkington
  • He has lectured at hundreds of universities and met with leaders of over 50 countries
  • The Global Footprint Network arose in 2003 out of the best-selling book, Our Ecological Footprint which has sold nearly 40 000 copies
  • The Global Footprint Network has over 800 thousand members and their annual event, Earth Overshoot Day, now reaches 3 billion media impressions
  • Biological capacity is the most critical material limitation to human enterprise. Footprint accounting tracks how much regeneration is possible on the planet compared to how much humans use.
  • Currently, demand exceeds regeneration by 70%
  • Ecological Footprint accounting is the only comprehensive metric able to compare human demand and what nature can provide
  • A complete introduction to the Ecological Footprint approach including key results and applications
  • Helps governments respond effectively to pressing issues of climate change and population
  • Links planetary limits to decision making process
  • Process distills actions into one number that represents the planet's bottom line
  • Academically rigorous and written in accessible language
  • Differs from other books on sustainability because it is broader and provides tools that can be immediately put to use for specific goals and outcomes
  • Provides examples of how to manage common planetary resources
  • Includes Footprint scenarios and provides pathways to follow out of overshoot
  • Contains case studies using the Ecological Footprint tool for individuals, cities and countires
  • Provides guidelines for use in businesses and municipalities

Economists, planners, environmentalists, municipalities, sustainability experts, students, anyone planning for climate change


  • The Global Footprint Network is known around the world and is particularly well known in Switzerland; Japan; Ecuador; Philippines; United Arab Emirates; Luxembourg; Belgium; France; Indonesia; Montenegro; Slovenia; European Union; Costa Rica
  • Includes case studies from China and Africa
  • Author is Swiss/American citizen
  • Has worked on 6 continents
  • Mathis’ awards include the 2018 World Sustainability Award, the 2015 IAIA Global Environment Award, the 2012 Blue Planet Prize, the 2012 Binding-Prize for Nature Conservation, the 2012 Kenneth E. Boulding Memorial Award of the International Society for Ecological Economics, the 2011 Zayed International Prize for the Environment (jointly awarded with UNEP), an honorary doctorate from the University of Berne, and the 2007 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, the 2006 WWF Award for Conservation Merit and 2005 Herman Daly Award of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics.
  • Link to their mobile footprint calculator.
  • Link to graphic illustrating each country’s footprint.


  • Our Ecological Footprint was co-authored by William Rees from University of BC
  • The concept of Ecological Footprint is widely understood and used in Canada. WWF Canada uses Ecological Footprinting and Earth Overshoot day for major campaigns