What is the ecological footprint?

The ecological footprint is an indicator of sustainability. It shows you how much biologically productive area is needed for your company to continue its activities as it is currently doing. Included is land that is used to mine raw materials that are processed by your company. Also included is land used to provide the energy your company consumes, as well as land used to dispose of your waste and to sequester the carbon dioxide from your processes. The sum of all these areas is the ecological footprint of your company. It is expressed in the unit “global hectare” [gha]. Because not every area in the world has the same biological productivity, the average productivity that one hectare provides has been determined. This average output per hectare is the carrying capacity of a global hectare [gha].

If the combined ecological footprint of all humans is greater than the biologically productive land available on Earth, we are in an ecological deficit. If we need less than the available area, we have an ecological reserve. Unfortunately, we have been in an ecological deficit for several decades.

To understand one’s own operational contribution to the ecological burden on our world, the ecological footprint can be measured or calculated and assessed. The footprint states how many gha are needed to run your business the way it is run. The ecological footprint can then be used to derive and implement goals to demonstrably reduce the impact.

Unfortunately, not all resources consumed are included in the ecological footprint. For example, water consumption, the destruction of biodiversity and the consumption of non-renewable raw materials cannot be included in the ecological footprint.

Are you interested in having your company’s ecological footprint calculated to see how ecologically sustainable your company is?


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