Footprint Science - Introduction

How can we all live well and live within the means of one planet?

This is the research question of the 21st century. If we are serious about sustainable development, there is no way around this question. If we do not design ways to live within the means of one planet, sustainability will remain elusive, which creates risks for economies and humanity as a whole. Living within the means of nature is a necessary precondition for sustainability.

National Footprint Accounts measure the ecological resource use and resource capacity of nations over time. Based on approximately 6,000 data points per country per year, the Accounts calculate the Footprints of 232 countries, territories, and regions from 1961 to the present. These accounts provide the core data that is needed for all Ecological Footprint analysis worldwide.

Although these accounts provide the most comprehensive aggregate indicator of human pressure on ecosystems currently available, the National Footprint Accounts are a work in progress.

In 2007, in collaboration with our Partners, we launched the National Accounts Improvement project, an ongoing research and development initiative designed to improve the accuracy, transparency, and applicability of the accounts.

Every two years we release a new edition of the National Footprint Accounts in WWF’s Living Planet Report. The most recent report was published in Spring 2012.

By maintaining and strengthening the National Footprint Accounts and creating global Ecological Footprint Standards, we are ensuring accurate, consistent, and comparable Footprint analyses.