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 2018: 1.58262376091944 Global per capita biocapacity 2017: 1.60647966594829 Global per capita biocapacity 2016: 1.60734252886662 Global per capita biocapacity 2015: 1.61944987053944 Global per capita biocapacity 2014: 1.63521981023918 Global per capita biocapacity 2013: 1.64892152082034 Global per capita biocapacity 2012: 1.6430663934244 Global per capita biocapacity 2011: 1.67847732006626 Global per capita biocapacity 2010: 1.69130309385663 Global per capita biocapacity 2009: 1.6984784646137 Global per capita biocapacity 2008: 1.72577395580822 Global per capita biocapacity 2007: 1.72647687943898 Global per capita biocapacity 2006: 1.74300778419911 Global per capita biocapacity 2005: 1.75809069734403 Global per capita biocapacity 2004: 1.78302099839843 Global per capita biocapacity 2003: 1.78713464350387 Global per capita biocapacity 2002: 1.81151271976184 Global per capita biocapacity 2001: 1.83107359719899 Global per capita biocapacity 2000: 1.84346296754972 Global per capita biocapacity 1999: 1.8662359594391 Global per capita biocapacity 1998: 1.88533975921639 Global per capita biocapacity 1997: 1.90427182808407 Global per capita biocapacity 1996: 1.92181036738082 Global per capita biocapacity 1995: 1.92402595110666 Global per capita biocapacity 1994: 1.96006541908767 Global per capita biocapacity 1993: 1.97449404292603 Global per capita biocapacity 1992: 2.01034696595802 Global per capita biocapacity 1991: 2.01247285357196 Global per capita biocapacity 1990: 2.05968385275901 Global per capita biocapacity 1989: 2.07175460394727 Global per capita biocapacity 1988: 2.08268233673352 Global per capita biocapacity 1987: 2.13512400907757 Global per capita biocapacity 1986: 2.166171825664 Global per capita biocapacity 1985: 2.20249071843755 Global per capita biocapacity 1984: 2.22609224574374 Global per capita biocapacity 1983: 2.23410422663685 Global per capita biocapacity 1982: 2.28027680063325 Global per capita biocapacity 1981: 2.30055468747254 Global per capita biocapacity 1980: 2.31977414932811 Global per capita biocapacity 1979: 2.36051262865294 Global per capita biocapacity 1978: 2.40778772083219 Global per capita biocapacity 1977: 2.42344573412069 Global per capita biocapacity 1976: 2.46389961758327 Global per capita biocapacity 1975: 2.49540035986807 Global per capita biocapacity 1974: 2.53597304985474 Global per capita biocapacity 1973: 2.59975984195495 Global per capita biocapacity 1972: 2.62119182896074 Global per capita biocapacity 1971: 2.6853573541113 Global per capita biocapacity 1970: 2.72423440602107 Global per capita biocapacity 1969: 2.76828504802562 Global per capita biocapacity 1968: 2.82420104561797 Global per capita biocapacity 1967: 2.8695698476656 Global per capita biocapacity 1966: 2.91876856394887 Global per capita biocapacity 1965: 2.94965279730181 Global per capita biocapacity 1964: 3.00157376847483 Global per capita biocapacity 1963: 3.04753842289611 Global per capita biocapacity 1962: 3.10551041739603 Global per capita biocapacity 1961: 3.14992497612817 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2018: 4.34825013885374 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2017: 4.45278446351115 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2016: 4.57700494665224 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2015: 4.68548278369767 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2014: 4.81431224956611 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2013: 5.10257962654837 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2012: 5.071240907038 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2011: 5.38729864905763 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2010: 5.45614444365428 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2009: 5.40710006255257 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2008: 5.78982402825676 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2007: 5.84693279676572 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2006: 5.62347819160788 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2005: 5.61511268979234 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2004: 5.35181705820737 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2003: 5.35342781977589 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2002: 5.30976753582619 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2001: 5.32401687942107 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 2000: 5.53474006934982 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1999: 5.45008916812324 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1998: 5.61766835825624 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1997: 5.61802251413847 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1996: 5.56125944220064 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1995: 5.70754169548125 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1994: 5.64673164701663 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1993: 5.59135292623513 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1992: 5.91783006111168 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1991: 6.16589225834353 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1990: 6.44634582465894 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1989: 6.2961965792033 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1988: 6.02164140694056 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1987: 5.88225749674592 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1986: 6.01439552084004 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1985: 5.83590141141328 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1984: 5.80634993106295 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1983: 5.5715121136469 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1982: 5.31117016632308 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1981: 5.69682662143982 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1980: 5.96353203984999 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1979: 5.80011073571395 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1978: 5.83553448940713 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1977: 5.45734439813093 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1976: 5.35676174129739 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1975: 5.11757386360505 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1974: 5.91098498845281 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1973: 6.45264028788985 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1972: 6.19954550853397 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1971: 6.02241211054259 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1970: 5.93542384018895 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1969: 5.4709196807614 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1968: 4.84382400361396 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1967: 4.81712391260395 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1966: 4.60858526241404 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1965: 4.71421131329323 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1964: 4.80659518263887 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1963: 4.69131757780984 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1962: 4.77720427582683 Switzerland's per capita ecological footprint 1961: 4.4576663148232
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 4.3 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 (55th 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 2018 1961 2018 3.83% Towards theoretical path unsatisfactory*

*As the ecological footprint still does not show a clear trend towards "one earth", the development is assessed negatively.  

 

 
Last updated on: 20.07.2022

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