Ecological Footprint Accounting: Navigating Resource Constraints - Mathis Wackernagel


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Dal convegno "Doppia Piramide: alimentazione sana per le persone, sostenibile per il pianeta" - 29 giugno 2010, Milano. Ecological Footprint Accounting: Navigating Resource Constraints - Mathis Wackernagel

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  • Dear ladies, dear gentlemen, dear Ernst, dear GRI community You are all incredibly dear Yet through all our actions, we are running out of planet. Great Decisions Bend the trend MESSAGE: Cities and countries are BLIND TO their SELF INTEREST. If you take the data seriously, you need to significantly shift your investments if you want to expect a return from them. Even more so without a climate agreement. Without knowing how much nature you have, and how much you use, you are blind – and you may run your “supertanker” aground. Help you make great decisions Nothing new Help you simplify the story and bridge to decision-making. Far more serious than ever assumed. It may be shocking, but not because it is complicated, but because we somehow know it… Identifying opportunities for high leverage interventions Discovering potential harm earlier
  • As global overshoot increases, the geopolitical line will shift from that between “developing” and “developed” countries to a distinction between ecological creditors – countries that have more biocapacity than they use – and ecological debtors – those using more biocapacity than they have. Today, 80 percent of the world’s people live in countries that run an ecological deficit. As whole, the global deficit is over 30 percent. (it takes a year and four months to regenerate what is being used in one year).
  • In 1961, most countries were ecological creditors. Residents of ecological creditor countries consume on average less resources than their ecosystems can regenerate (the darker the green the higher the ratio). This is in net terms (there is trade, of course, even among creditor countries). Ecological debtor countries are the opposite. They run, in net terms, an ecological deficit. As a result, we run the Ecological Creditors and Debtors Initiative Goal: To convene nations to initiate a dialogue on the growing significance of biocapacity. We believe the geopolitical lines will begin to shift from that between “developing” and “developed” countries to the line dividing ecological creditors and ecological debtors. DEFINITIONS: ● Ecological Creditors : Residents of ecological creditor countries use less ecological services than are available within their national borders, and therefore are endowed with a reserve of natural assets. This reserve, in an increasingly resource-constrained world, empowers these countries and strengthens their strategic positions. ● Ecological Debtors : In contrast, countries with ecological deficits depend on net imports of such resources or on liquidating their ecological assets.
  • I do not need to tell you that we live on an amazing planet with fantastic Ecological Wealth, yet most decision-makers do not see this wealth. We take it for granted, and as an unintended consequence we are liquidating it, and with it ourselves. Possibly the biggest policy failure. Far beyond any other market failure. I do not want to talk primarily about the trends, but more about the enormous untapped opportunities we have, to turn trends around, and to secure human wellbeing – if we want to. This is what I would like t talk about.
  • In Review: In 1961, Ecuador had 5 times more biocapacity than Footprint. By 2005, Ecuador‘s Footprint met its biocapacity. This is becoming a threat to Ecuador’s development success. Now we are going to show you 24 African countries – same graph as Ecuador, same time period, but each one has a different y-axis. Green surface means ecological remainder, red means they are running an ecological deficit.
  • Qu’est-ce que l’empreinte écologique? L’empreinte écologique correspond à la surface de terre et d’eau qu’il faut à une population humaine pour générer les ressources qu’elle consomme et dégrader les déchets qu’elle produit, dans un contexte technologique donné. Autrement dit, elle mesure la «quantité de nature» dont nous disposons, combien nous en utilisons, et qui utilise quoi. C‘est un outil utile aux décideurs lorsqu’il s’agit de faire des choix difficiles, de gérer des conflits d’objectifs et de se placer dans une situation optimale pour l’avenir. L’empreinte peut être appliquée à l’échelle de la planète, d’un pays, d’une région, d’un individu ou d’un produit.
  • Global Footprint Network strives to use the best information available, to represent the best science, and translate it into asset language What do material cycles mean? essentially how much nature do we have – how much do we need. This is the base of a new economics – understanding material flows.
  • What are the consequences – carbon build up in the atmosphere, How this links to CARBON Carbon big driver Enabler of keeping other areas contained (agriculture), and substitute materials (plastics) How it impacts countries becomes clearer Self-interest for nations and cities becomes obvious, and negotiation become easier
  • Over Mathis Wackernagel’s life time, humanity has moved from using about half the planet’s biocapacity to using resources and emitting waste 40 percent faster than the biosphere can renew them.
  • Conventional thinking is becoming a liability: Translating UN’s Most Moderate Scenario into Footprint shows unviable path. This level of ecological debt accumulation is becoming physically impossible.
  • The vision 2050 project is supported by 26 WBCSD member companies from almost all major business sectors, and a good geographic spread – US, Europe, Africa, Latin America & Asia,   ...and guided by four (4) co-chairs from Alcoa, PwC, Storebrand & Syngenta.   While there is a good geographical representation, the company members also realize that they need to ensure that the project is informed by, and valid for, the major regions of the world. __________________________________________________________________________________ Aviation 1 Auto 2 Banks & Insurance 1 Cement 1 Chemicals & Agriculture 2 Construction 1 Consumer Goods 1 Engineering 1 Forestry & Paper 1 IT & Telecoms 1 Mining & Metals 4 Services 2 Utilities & Power 7 Electronics & Electrical 1  
  • WBCSD’s Vision 2050 project asked: how can we move humanity move out of overshoot by 2050? Future opportunities: What are the wedges needed – these are the emerging markets These are a few examples
  • Conventional thinking is becoming a liability: Translating UN’s Most Moderate Scenario into Footprint shows unviable path. This level of ecological debt accumulation is becoming physically impossible.
  • “ SLOW THINGS FIRST” Moderate United Nations projections suggest that humanity’s footprint will grow to double the Earth’s capacity within five decades. The lifespan of infrastructure put in place today to a large extent determines resource consumption for decades to come, and can lock humanity into this ecologically (and economically) risky scenario. For each investment decision, we can ask ourselves, are we buying ourselves into traps or opportunities.
  • Here are 24 countries, PER CAPITA - Source Global Footprint Network, National Footprint Accounts edition 2008 Countries with economic assets such as fossil fuel are able to run an ecological deficit without necessarily depleting their own ecological assets (through net-imports and emission of CO2) (blue countries - Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa) Others do not have that option. Their ecological deficits leads to the liquidation of local ecological assets. Also, due to inability to get biocapacity from elsewhere, declining biocapacity per person is translating into declining per capita Footprints (yellow countries - Malawi, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Morocco) Others have reached ecological limits some time ago (Niger, Burkina Faso, Kenya) Others are about to hit it (Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana [Ghana spikes might be due to inconsistencies in trade statistics]) Sudan is about to reach limits as a country, but there is also a regional distribution. Some of its areas (Darfur) have been in a much more tight situation than national average. Congo has a lot of biocapacity, but its surrounding countries do not – hence there is in-migration pressure and conflict. Note, drier countries have more irregular biocapacity – and climate change might become a particularly challenging threat for them.
  • Assessing Businesses and their Risk Exposure See
  • Ecological Footprint Accounting: Navigating Resource Constraints - Mathis Wackernagel

    1. 1. Ecological Footprint Accounting: Navigating Resource Constraints Mathis Wackernagel, Ph.D. Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition: June 29, 2010
    2. 2. Ecological Creditors and Ecological Debtors
    3. 3. Ecological Creditors and Ecological Debtors
    4. 5. Biocapacity per person Ecological Footprint
    5. 6. Summary <ul><li>The planet has limits. It becomes critical to know how much biocapacity you have? and how much you use? </li></ul><ul><li>Blindness brings risks and costs lives – and misses opportunities. </li></ul><ul><li>Why this matters for economic stability and competitiveness </li></ul>
    6. 7. The Ecological Footprint CARBON footprint
    7. 8. Metabolism like a cow
    8. 9. Humanity’s Ecological Footprint (1961 onwards)
    9. 10. EITHER: 350 ppm ~ 2 ° C OR: 1700 ppm Yes, but…
    10. 11. Mathis’ life (1962 – onwards) Annual deficit adds up to a global ecological debt
    11. 12. UN’s Most Moderate Scenario Mathis’ life
    12. 13. WBCSD Vision 2050 - Who’s in? WBCSD Vision 2050
    13. 14. Sustainability wedges for ending overshoot by 2050 (WBCSD)
    14. 15. UN’s Most Moderate Scenario Mathis’ life
    15. 16. Billion 2003 global hectares 10 Long-term waste 30 2050 is being built today (as a trap or an opportunity)
    16. 17. Houston, you have a problem..
    17. 18. The Ecological Footprint and biocapacity (per capita) of three countries from 1961-2005. A country runs an if its Footprint exceeds what its ecosystems can renew . The deficit is made up through net-imports, net-carbon emissions to the global atmosphere, or local resource degradation. Switzerland Ecological Footprint Ecological Footprint Biocapacity per person Biocapacity per person Uganda Iran Biocapacity per person Ecological Footprint ecological deficit
    18. 19. Ecological Creditors and Ecological Debtors in Africa Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity PER CAPITA,1961-2005
    19. 20. What do these graphs show? <ul><li>All 24 African countries are rapidly loosing per-capita biocapacity. </li></ul><ul><li>Four ( blue-shaded ) countries have assets that allow them to have a net-import and to burn significant quantities of fossil fuel. </li></ul><ul><li>Twelve ( yellow-shaded ) countries’ development is limited by their declining biocapacity, leading to SEVERE conflicts. </li></ul>
    20. 21. Biocapacity Ecological Footprint Shrinking Ecological Credit Increasing Ecological and Social Instability
    21. 22. Ecological Creditors and Ecological Debtors in Europe Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity PER CAPITA,1961-2005 HU DK AT DE ES RO SE CH IT PT NL FR PO GR RU BE FI UK IR SK CZ BY RS UA
    22. 24. Impact: The Eco-Footprint of a General Retailer (vintage poster facsimile)
    23. 25. How Does it support Business? <ul><li>Internal communication and alignment </li></ul><ul><li>Motivating cost savings and organizational development </li></ul><ul><li>External Communication and stakeholder engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Core strategy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Markets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Branding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovation needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Real Asset investments </li></ul></ul>
    24. 26. What’s next? <ul><li>Can Footprint help give leading companies the extra edge? </li></ul><ul><li>Can leading companies help nations to recognize the significance of resource issues’? </li></ul><ul><li>Can pasta change the world? </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>