Local action & Model – Ecological Footprint case studies
The ecological footprint, as defined by Redefining Progress,”measures the amount of renewable and non-renewable ecologically productive land area required to support the resource demands and absorb the wastes of a given population or specific activities”.
This method to measure environmental impact has been used by local council, private companies and even the superannuation industry in Melbourne. Examples are listed in more detail on the EPA’s website. They include Bayside City Council, who estimated the typical household’s footprint in the municipality, allowing them to track changes in the overall environmental sustainability of the community, enabling them to target their strategies and programs to have the greatest effect at reducing Ecological Footprint. The City of Port Phillip also reduced their ecological footprint by using the Home Ecological Footprint Calculator to measure the effectiveness of the Sustainable Living at Home program and to investigate the changes made in participating households.
In 2003, the Plastics and Chemicals Industry Association (PACIA) used EPA’s Ecological Footprint Calculator to measure their environmental performance for their Melbourne office. PACIA tracked their annual environmental perfomance of their office and the impact of environmental improvement plans as they were implemented. PACIA reported these results through its annual report to communicate with stakeholders about its commitment to sustainability. The Ecological Footprint calculation included electricity, gas, water, goods and food, as well as waste produced and recycled, and work-related travel.
VicSuper also piloted the Ecological Footprint Project in 2003 which helped them to develop and implement their long-term sustainability plan. VicSuper measured the impact of its office and some of the products and services consumed in its office operations.
Maybe your local council is also using the ecological footprint to work towards urban sustainability? Or maybe you have an idea of how this concept can be applied in other industries? Comments are welcome.