National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts 2005 : The underlying calculation method

  • Wackernagel M
  • Monfreda C
  • Moran D
 et al. 
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Abstract

The protection of natural capital, including its ability to renew or regenerate itself, represents a core aspect of sustainability. Hence reliable measures of the supply of, and human demand on, natural capital are indispensable for tracking progress, setting targets and driving policies for sustainability. This paper presents the current method for measuring this demand at the national level: the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts (2005 edition). These accounts, maintained by Global Footprint Network, systematically assess the Ecological Footprint of nations, using over 4000 data points per country and year. After explaining the assumptions and choice of data sources on which the accounts are built, this paper presents how the newest version of these accounts have become more consistent, reliable and detailed by using more comprehensive data sources, calculating and comparing yields more consistently, distinguishing more sharply between primary and secondary production, and using procedures to identify and eliminate potential errors. As a result, this method can now provide more meaningful comparisons among nations’ final consumption, or their economic production, and help to analyze the Ecological Footprint embodied in trade. With the higher level of detail, the accounts can generate sectoral assessments of an economy and detailed time trends of resource availability and use. Keywords:

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Authors

  • Mathis Wackernagel

  • Chad Monfreda

  • Dan Moran

  • Paul Wermer

  • Steve Goldfinger

  • Diana Deumling

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