Projects underway as of summer 2023
National Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts, 2024 Edition
We are producing accounts that detail the Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity of all nations on the planet, and a world-total, from 1961 to 2023. Details include the components of fishing grounds, cropland, grazing land, built-up land, forest products, and the area of forest needed to sequester anthropogenic emissions. These accounts are derived from 47 million rows of data sourced from international databases from the FAO, Comtrade, IEA, Global Carbon Budget, EDGAR, CDIAC. We are producing the accounts for the Footprint Data Foundation to inform individuals, communities and government leaders to better manage limited resources, reduce economic risk, and improve well-being.
Developing an International Training and Leadership Collaborative
We are developing an international training and leadership collaborative to build capacity and competencies in using Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Accounting, and in advancing its methodology and application to help communities, nations, and the world to achieve better environmental outcomes.
Mobilizing knowledge about Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity
We are generating a portfolio of products to engage audiences with the data that we produce and its applications. This will include: data stories that showcase the impact of ecological footprints on the environment, economy, and society; compelling visuals, such as videos, infographics, and interactive tools, to communicate existing data stories and research initiatives; co-created media campaigns that highlight current international research initiatives and promotes awareness of ecological footprint issues; creating visually appealing representations of data and its applications; collaborating with researchers to create short videos or documentaries that showcase their research findings and make them accessible to a wider audience.
Understanding the footprint literature
We are coding a sample of over a thousand peer-reviewed scholarly papers in order to understand trends in their focus, authorship and affiliations, purpose, methodologies, and recommendations. This will help our initiative, and others, to understand if and how research has changed, together with strengths and weakness and opportunities and threats to inform future research.
Projects completed as of spring 2023
National Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts, 2023 Edition
The 2023 Edition of the National Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts detailed Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity, by total and by component, at a national level and on a world-total basis, from 1961 to 2022. Ecological Footprint was measured for production, imports, exports, and consumption, where consumption equals production plus imports minus exports. Accounts were generated for 244 territories including the world, current and former/split/unified nations. Of these, 190 countries, plus the world, had a reliable timeline of data and are provided on an open-access basis.
Improving the National Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts
We developed ways of improving upon the accounts with a revised methodology and input data. Research memos identified the issue, recommended change, rationale, implications, alternatives, and supporting background information. This work addressed the priorities of the FODAFO Science Advisory Committee, and was implemented in the 2023 edition of the accounts.
Métis Nation of Ontario Community Footprint Calculator
We worked with external partners to develop and parameterize questions that can help to estimate the carbon emissions and Ecological Footprint of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Questions were informed by community focus groups and our experience with a preceding pilot of another community footprint calculator applied to a geographically-concentrated community. Questions will be answered by individuals providing information about their personal, and household, activities and consumption, with results aggregated on a community-wide basis to inform individual and collective changes.
University-wide Emissions and Ecological Footprint
We accounted for scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3 (upstream) greenhouse gas emissions, and ecological footprint, of a major Canadian University over a 5-year period. Our framework elaborated on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, an emerging standard for corporate and institutional-level reporting. Results were derived from data about university expenditures, metered energy, parking permits, residency and headcounts of students and staff and faculty, and transportation survey data. These were integrated with local, regional, and national emission and footprint coefficients, and benchmarked against the Canadian university sector average. Data was integrated into a database with code and queries that enhance its integrity and ease of updates and expansion in the future. The client has not yet permitted results to be shared.
Advocating for Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity through Communications
We are researching ways to improve communications and knowledge mobilization of ecological footprint and biocapacity metrics. Strategies have been developed through interviews with members of the Global Footprint Network, the Ecological Footprint Initiative, and the Footprint Data Foundation. This research is documented through a strategy report detailing the long-term goals and strategies for communications and advocacy regarding Ecological Footprint.
National Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts, 2022 Edition
The 2022 Edition reports on Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity of all nations, and the world, from 1961 to 2018. Details include the components of fishing grounds, cropland, grazing land, built-up land, forest products, and the area of forest needed to sequester anthropogenic emissions. We produced the accounts for the Footprint Data Foundation to inform individuals, communities and government leaders to better manage limited resources, reduce economic risk, and improve well-being. We produced the accounts for the Footprint Data Foundation to inform individuals, communities and government leaders to better manage limited resources, reduce economic risk, and improve well-being. Data are available on the data page of our website.
Community Footprint Calculator (Pilot1)
We worked with a Toronto-area Parish to develop and parameterize questions that help to estimate the Ecological Footprint of the community and its member individuals and their households. Questions were piloted on a committee of the Parish, with results and recommendations documented in a project report that was shared with an international advisory council to inspire future applications.
Canada's use of the Earth's carrying capacity
We synthesized and mobilized knowledge that could help to inform civil society and governments of all levels about how Canadians use and depend upon the Earth's carrying capacity. This included the consideration of how Canada's imports rely upon carrying capacity from abroad, and how domestic capacity is used to generate exports. We are using various measures and measurement systems, including Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity accounting. Our assessment included an analysis of the sensitivity of Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity measures to changes in various input parameters and data sources, to address questions that we have encountered from provincial and federal policymakers. Read our synthesis report here.
Alignment of NEFBAs with SEEA-EA
This background paper examines the linkages between the National Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Accounting (NEFBA) and System of Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA) frameworks, specifically the Ecosystem Accounting (EA) component (SEEA-EA). It provides an overview of the accounting methodologies and identifies the similarities and differences between NFBA and the SEEA-EA. The frameworks are compared with respect to their broader purpose, objectives, rationale, and range of policy applications. Comparisons are also made based on each framework’s accounting approach, concepts, input data and data presentation. Lastly, this paper summarizes how these frameworks are linked and how they can be reconciled through the integration of NEFBA with EA or the broader SEEA framework.
National Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts, 2021 Edition
We produced the 2021 edition of the accounts to detail the Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity of all nations on the planet, from 1961 to 2017. Details include the components of cropland, grazing land, built-up land, forest land, fishing grounds, and the carbon footprint. We are producing the accounts for the Footprint Data Foundation to inform individuals, communities and government leaders to better manage limited resources, reduce economic risk, and improve well-being. This data has since been updated and extended with a more recent edition of the accounts.
Ontario's Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity
We derived measures and trends from 2005 to 2015 of Ontario's Ecological Footprint of consumption, and the Biocapacity of lands and waters within Ontario. Results were derived using provincial, national and international data, following the Ecological Footprint Standards. This allows results to be compared to national and global trends and measures, and to inform measures of sustainability by comparing Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity. This work informs the Ontario Biodiversity Strategy through the leadership of the Ontario Biodiversity Council. Read our final report and learn about its application as an Ontario indicator.
Assessing the state of footprint science
We appraised the science underlying the definition and measurement of the Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity and their various components, including cropland, grazing land, built-up land, forest land, fishing grounds, and the carbon footprint. We also appraised critiques of the methodologies and data (including responses to the critiques). An annotated bibliography was generated, profiling specific sources of greatest relevance. The resulting work is informing the Science Advisory Committee of the Footprint Data Foundation as it develops a research agenda and seeks resources to undertake the research. Since then, the work informed Mary's MES major paper and her publication "The ecological footprint as a sustainability metric: implications for sustainability"