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About Global Footprint Network and the Ecological Footprint

"In a world of shrinking resources, those who first recognize the need for sustainability and adopt appropriate strategies will succeed best in future global competition."

Yves Manfrini, Union Bancaire Privee, Switzerland (Fund Manager using Ecological Footprint Accounts for investment analysis)

"The Ecological Footprint is one of the most important environmental concepts in currency today, with virtually unlimited educational and practical implications."

E.O. Wilson, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

"I am convinced that to realize our vision, we need to engage stakeholders and citizens from across Europe and the world and get people to take real ownership of the sustainable development challenge. However, for people to do this, they need clear information on the challenges and the options available for more sustainable patterns of production, consumption and development. We also need to be able to assess progress made and target our actions which will allow all stakeholders to play their role in communicating with and engaging people. That is why I very much welcome initiatives such as this one taken by WWF [and Global Footprint Network]."

Jose Manuel Barrosso, President of the European Commission, writing in the forward to the report co-authored by WWF and Global Footprint Network Europe 2005: The Ecological Footprint.

"Wackernagel, et. al, put out the first quantitative 'overshoot' estimate I have seen for the human economy as a whole: 33% over sustainable limits."

the late Donella Meadows, Lead Author, The Limits to Growth and Founder, Sustainability Institute

"There is a need to go beyond GDP and develop complementary indicators that will let us better understand social and environmental issues...[for] example, Wales is already using the Ecological Footprint to measure their progress. But if we are really going to change the way that people think about the world they live in then this work needs to be accelerated and also brought together."

Stavros Dimas, European Commissioner for the Environment

"The Footprinting methodology is the most ingenious way of communicating unsustainability to the general public - it goes directly to the point and through intuition it allows laypeople to 'get it'."

Prof. Karl-Henrik Robert, Founder of The Natural Step

"The Ecological Footprint is a great communication tool. It can help explain a complex challenge for the planet to any audience. It can then empower people because it doesn't say you must do this. It says: here's the challenge that we all share on the planet. You can make your choice. That's very powerful for us."

Terry A'Hearn, Director of Sustainable Development, EPA Victoria, Australia

"I know of no better way of thinking about sustainability or carrying capability on a global scale than Ecological Footprinting."

Peter Raven, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden

"There is one measure, and one measure only, describing the capacity and relationship between human society and living systems: Ecological Footprinting. It is the only standard by which we may calibrate our collective impact upon the planet, and assess the viability of our future. It is ‘true north’ when it comes to sustainability; no report about the environment is complete without it."

Paul Hawken, Executive Director, Natural Capital Institute

"The Ecological Footprint makes clear that the environment is no longer a side show, but is increasingly defining economic possibilities. Understanding our ecological demand, and its reach beyond national boundaries allows us to get prepared for the future. It is not that different from our financial expenditures. If we don't track them, we waste them; if we overdraw our 'ecological accounts,' we are undermining our future."

Michael Meacher, MP and former UK Minister of Environment

"I agree with you that we need to further develop indicators that reflect the state of and pressure on the environment and get them more widely accepted and used. We need to enrich the somewhat reductive picture provided by exclusive reliance on the GDP as the main indicator to guide policy choices. The European Commission and DG Environment therefore supports the work on the Ecological Footprint you are leading.The Ecological Footprint is considered as one of the indicators to measure progress towards the objectives of [the Commission's Thematic Strategy on sustainable use of resources]."

Catherine Day, Director-General, Directorate-General Environment, European Commission, in a letter to Mathis Wackernagel, Executive Director of Global Footprint Network

"The great thing about the Footprint concept is that it captures a lot of disparate information and brings it together in a rather simple concept. We've found it to be a useful tool to communicate with our board and our employees."

Bruce Sampson, former Vice President Sustainability, BC Hydro, Canada

"Even if we just wanted to save tigers and pandas, or create protected areas, we could still not succeed without addressing human pressure. Reducing humanity's impact, however, requires equity and cooperation, otherwise we would just create more conflicts. This is an important reason for monitoring human demand through the Ecological Footprint. Recognizing ecological constraints is tough, but it is a prerequisite for harmony between people and nature."

Claude Martin, former Director General WWF International

"The concepts of "Ecological Footprints" enable the identification of crucial variables that policymakers need to address. I greatly hope that your work will serve to stimulate countries to look quantitatively at their interactions with the global ecosystem."

Toufiq Siddiqi, Adjunct Senior Fellow, East-West Center

"Using an 'Ecological Footprint' to describe the pressure human activity is placing on the biosphere will inevitably invite controversy. Global Footprint Network is disarmingly frank about the limitations of its data and refreshingly keen to invite skeptics to suggest improvements. Let's hope those who believe there are no limits or that we're not running any risks will be equally frank about why we don't need to worry."

Simon Upton, Chair of the OECD Round Table on Sustainable Development

"A globalizing economy has an enormous potential of benefiting people around the world. Yet, if not managed carefully, it could also accelerate resource use and lead to a rapid liquidation of our ecological goods. Keeping track of the resources embodied in our trade flows helps monitor whether our course is sustainable or not. The Ecological Footprint points in the right direction."

David Runnalls, President and Chief Executive Officer of IISD, Canada

"The calculations of Ecological Footprints will impress the world community and help politicians, business, engineers, and the public-at-large to find new and exciting paths towards sustainable development."

Prof. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker, MP, Founder and Former President of the Wuppertal Institute, and Member of the German Bundestag

"Measuring progress towards sustainability is a complex, but important process. The Ecological Footprinting approach is a promising step forward."

Alexander de Roo, former MEP, Vice Chair of the Environment, Public Health, and Consumer Committee, European Parliament

"There have been a number of innovative research initiatives to help us get a grip on what is meant by Sustainable Development. Among the most substantive and illuminating, if not the single most helpful of all, is the work by Mathis Wackernagel and his colleagues on 'ecological footprints.'"

Professor Norman Myers, Visiting Fellow, Green College, Oxford University, United Kingdom

"As an Environmental Protection Authority, people judge us by whether there is pollution in the rivers or pollution in the air. I can tell people that there is a river in Victoria that has no pollution because it has no water....because we are using the water too much. The Ecological Footprint helps us sit down with people and say it is not just about how much pollution is going in the river, it's how much water we are using."

Terry A'Hearn, Director of Sustainable Development, EPA Victoria, Australia

"I got [the "Ecological Footprints of Nations" report] which I love and will cite voraciously in our book. It will look like a carcass in the desert, stripped of every morsel of insight. It is great."

Paul Hawken, Executive Director, The Natural Capital Institute

About Sustainability and Ecological Limits

"Sustainability is the best choice we have - yet it also requires significant reorientation. The good news is this possibility: if we start accounting for our ecological resources as seriously as we do for our financial assets, we can manage our ecological assets more carefully in order to secure a sustainable, better tomorrow."

Emil Salim, former Minister of Environment of Indonesia

"The world will no longer be divided by the ideologies of 'left' and 'right,' but by those who accept ecological limits and those who don't."

Wolfgang Sachs, head of the Cross-cutting Project, "Globalization and Sustainability", Wuppertal Institute

"I have the dream that one day regions will not only report on their economic performance, but also on the happiness that this activity generates for its citizens. And furthermore - that one day regions will also report on the burden they place on nature while achieving this human happiness."

Professor Jorgen Randers, Norwegian School of Management

"In a global economy, wealthy urban centres get much of their supply from far away. They depend on ecosystems they have never seen. Hence, overused and failing ecosystems, even if distant, become a threat to the well-being of these very urban centres. Quantifying this relationship between consumers and ecosystems that support them is both politically and scientifically a demanding exercise. Yet it needs to be done."

Georgina M. Mace, Director of Science, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London