Indicator Economy and Consumption

Ecological footprint per capita

The Global Footprint Network (GFN)  ecological footprint indicator is the best known parameter for measuring the global environmental impact of end-user consumption. It measures the consumption of natural resources and expresses the area that would be necessary for the production of resources in global hectares (gha). The ecological footprint (expressed in absolute values or number of Earths) indicates whether and to what extent the use of nature exceeds the biosphere’s regenerative capacity (biocapacity). If humanity’s footprint exceeds the world’s biocapacity, nature is being overused on a global scale. This has been the situation since the 1970s.

 

Assessment of the state
poor poor
Assessment of the trend
negative negative
Global per capita biocapacity 2017: 1.59820159715363 Global per capita biocapacity 2016: 1.59660256976013 Global per capita biocapacity 2015: 1.61242613185476 Global per capita biocapacity 2014: 1.62734341664576 Global per capita biocapacity 2013: 1.63859883802145 Global per capita biocapacity 2012: 1.63416876301331 Global per capita biocapacity 2011: 1.66463328812076 Global per capita biocapacity 2010: 1.680154105365 Global per capita biocapacity 2009: 1.68952339122015 Global per capita biocapacity 2008: 1.71735570082596 Global per capita biocapacity 2007: 1.71869282399105 Global per capita biocapacity 2006: 1.73512268401817 Global per capita biocapacity 2005: 1.74896544338204 Global per capita biocapacity 2004: 1.77370428190041 Global per capita biocapacity 2003: 1.77485841286846 Global per capita biocapacity 2002: 1.79883112566645 Global per capita biocapacity 2001: 1.81900360363328 Global per capita biocapacity 2000: 1.83180465547276 Global per capita biocapacity 1999: 1.85353258885075 Global per capita biocapacity 1998: 1.87169410224257 Global per capita biocapacity 1997: 1.88868203909177 Global per capita biocapacity 1996: 1.90586306162863 Global per capita biocapacity 1995: 1.90816499214819 Global per capita biocapacity 1994: 1.94309549822745 Global per capita biocapacity 1993: 1.9566386266765 Global per capita biocapacity 1992: 1.99255988649746 Global per capita biocapacity 1991: 1.99515932568762 Global per capita biocapacity 1990: 2.03914548759601 Global per capita biocapacity 1989: 2.04725057660256 Global per capita biocapacity 1988: 2.058575653636 Global per capita biocapacity 1987: 2.10838222177377 Global per capita biocapacity 1986: 2.13755449942969 Global per capita biocapacity 1985: 2.17157680791833 Global per capita biocapacity 1984: 2.19967204856335 Global per capita biocapacity 1983: 2.20675295600582 Global per capita biocapacity 1982: 2.25346971653432 Global per capita biocapacity 1981: 2.27346786511282 Global per capita biocapacity 1980: 2.29180443677425 Global per capita biocapacity 1979: 2.33253001381772 Global per capita biocapacity 1978: 2.37752879395072 Global per capita biocapacity 1977: 2.39442752013147 Global per capita biocapacity 1976: 2.43277590591323 Global per capita biocapacity 1975: 2.4658874070389 Global per capita biocapacity 1974: 2.50629636759825 Global per capita biocapacity 1973: 2.56720452441126 Global per capita biocapacity 1972: 2.5888954830893 Global per capita biocapacity 1971: 2.65256936937916 Global per capita biocapacity 1970: 2.69019707640542 Global per capita biocapacity 1969: 2.73250391574982 Global per capita biocapacity 1968: 2.79041844126915 Global per capita biocapacity 1967: 2.832196493784 Global per capita biocapacity 1966: 2.88097518577377 Global per capita biocapacity 1965: 2.91213173213813 Global per capita biocapacity 1964: 2.96406615388429 Global per capita biocapacity 1963: 3.00993515237322 Global per capita biocapacity 1962: 3.06723913846566 Global per capita biocapacity 1961: 3.11040399859927 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2017: 4.47496477875821 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2016: 4.60074492378838 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2015: 4.68962555561431 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2014: 4.81104735680025 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2013: 5.09246114402007 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2012: 5.06460740563074 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2011: 5.36673819553113 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2010: 5.46334491285149 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2009: 5.40521746130889 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2008: 5.8097142498359 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2007: 5.86026050343116 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2006: 5.64395793852378 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2005: 5.64502738678985 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2004: 5.3628540504005 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2003: 5.37145597347963 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2002: 5.39339330803966 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2001: 5.33347882888526 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2000: 5.55512646108945 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1999: 5.47064158164052 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1998: 5.68821968702772 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1997: 5.62736558943598 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1996: 5.57121822065146 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1995: 5.72367846488726 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1994: 5.65619497701591 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1993: 5.59562021508484 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1992: 5.92147500417544 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1991: 6.17158228272041 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1990: 6.43798734715129 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1989: 6.29210017066577 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1988: 6.02041758228431 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1987: 5.8748970950657 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1986: 5.99672848159018 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1985: 5.82381059268196 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1984: 5.80199225247962 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1983: 5.5622073149012 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1982: 5.30061323235937 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1981: 5.68835549787878 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1980: 5.95544209488339 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1979: 5.7900596448557 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1978: 5.82310224611723 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1977: 5.42508295862308 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1976: 5.32853571151078 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1975: 5.09348700879502 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1974: 5.89614498865351 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1973: 6.44057793469254 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1972: 6.17674457777107 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1971: 6.01132020082118 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1970: 5.92323091076953 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1969: 5.46362044626946 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1968: 4.83458774179656 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1967: 4.80176724225532 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1966: 4.59549079969533 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1965: 4.70937887862133 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1964: 4.80135878507928 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1963: 4.68477988277499 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1962: 4.76566884606328 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1961: 4.44906721618272
The diagram shows Switzerland's per capita resource consumption in global hectares (gha) and the global per capita biocapacity that corresponds to one "Earth".

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: Global Footprint Network (GFN)
Comment

Switzerland’s per capita ecological footprint is currently around 4.5 global hectares (gha) per capita. The globally available biocapacity per capita is 1.6 gha (GFN 2021). In other words, if everyone in the world were to consume at the same rate as people in Switzerland, around three Earths would be needed. This situation is thus assessed as negative.

The imbalance between Switzerland’s ecological footprint and global biocapacity has existed for decades and there is no clear trend towards ‘one Earth’. This development is thus assessed as negative .

International comparison

Switzerland has one of the highest ecological footprints per capita in the world (51th place out of 214).

Method

The ecological footprint includes all stages involved in the production of goods – from raw material extraction through the manufacture and transportation of goods to their use and disposal. Not only the goods consumed and emissions generated in Switzerland are taken into account here, but also those consumed and generated abroad. However, the environmental impact caused by exported goods and services is not taken into account as this is not attributable to domestic consumption.

The ecological footprint considers all of the land required for our consumption. This includes, for example, the agricultural land needed for food production as well as the land used for industrial production, roads and settlements. It also includes the forest areas we need to produce wood and absorb the CO2 emissions generated by the use of fossil fuels. To facilitate comparison on a global scale, the different land types are converted into average productive areas (global hectares or gha).

To calculate the agricultural footprint, the Global Footprint Network (GFN) considers the data of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and global average values for agricultural yields. These globally valid yields are considerably lower than the yields obtained in Switzerland in some cases.

From the end-consumer perspective, the ecological footprint reflects in one single figure direct land use, wild fisheries, and the forest area (theoretically) required to compensate for fossil CO2 emissions.

The ecological footprint is not a comprehensive environmental indicator. The use of fresh water and other renewable and non-renewable natural resources and the loss of biodiversity or the environmental impact caused by air pollutants, heavy metals and persistent pollutants are not taken into account. The indicator shows us that Switzerland’s resource use is around three times the sustainable level. The situation with regard to greenhouse gas emissions is considerably worse.

Basis for assessment of the trend
Targeted trend Initial value Final value Deviation from theoretical path in% Observed trend Assessment
1.6 n 2017 1961 2017 -0.91% Opposite to the theoretical path negative
 
Last updated on: 14.06.2021

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