The Footprint of Consumption Activities

Figure 1 Global Ecological Footprint and biocapacity, 19612002. Data in units of 2002 global hectares, hectares with equivalent biological productivity to a world-average bioproductive hectares in the year 2002. From Global Footprint Network (2005). National Footprint Accounts, 2005 edition. Available at http://www.footprintnetwork.org.

While the methods and national analysis presented above provide information on the Ecological Footprint and bio-capacity of different land types, they do not indicate which types of consumption are responsible for placing these demands. The provision of food products, for example, requires significant quantities of cropland, grazing land, fishing grounds, and carbon land. Dividing the Ecological Footprint into its specific consumption components can be valuable for policy applications and communication programs. These results are commonly used in scenario analysis and by individuals who wish to find ways to reduce their own personal footprints.

Various techniques, including input-output analysis and process-based allocation, can be applied to apportion the Ecological Footprint into consumption categories. All of these types of analyses can generate a consumption land-use matrix, a table that allocates the total footprint in each of the major land types across a series of consumption categories. The different methods employed by practitioners around the world to create these matrices are currently being aligned by a global Ecological Footprint standards process.

Table 2 shows that energy land and crop land are the land types that make the largest contribution to the average Australian's Ecological Footprint. By consumption

Table 2 Process-based consumption land-use matrix for Australia

'Carbon

Grazing

Built-up

Fishing

Total

land'

Cropland

land

Forest

land

grounds

(gha/cap)

Food

0.5

1.1

0.7

0.0

0.3

2.7

Plant based

0.3

0.3

0.0

0.6

Animal based

0.3

0.7

0.7

0.0

0.3

2.1

Housing

1.1

0.0

0.3

0.1

1.4

New construction

0.1

0.0

0.3

0.0

0.4

Maintenance

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.1

Residential energy use

0.9

0.9

Electricity

0.8

0.8

Natural gas

0.1

0.1

Fuelwood

0.1

0.1

Fuel oil, kerosene, LPG,

0.0

0.0

coal

Mobility

0.7

0.0

0.1

0.8

Passenger cars and trucks

0.5

0.0

0.1

0.6

Motorcycles

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Buses

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Passenger raif transport

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Passenger air transport

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.1

Passenger boats

Goods

1.4

0.0

0.0

0.4

0.0

1.9

Appliances (not including

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

operation energy)

Furnishing

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

Computers and electrical

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

equipment (not inclu.

Clothing and shoes

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

Cleaning products

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

Paper products

0.1

0.2

0.0

0.3

Tobacco

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Other misc. goods

1.2

0.0

0.1

0.0

1.3

Services

0.7

0.0

0.1

0.0

0.9

Water and sewage

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Telephone and cable service

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Solid waste

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Financial and legal

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

Medical

0.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.2

Real estate and rental lodging

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

Entertainment

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

Government

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.2

Nonmilitary, nonroad

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

Military

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

Other misc. services

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

Total (gha/cap)

4.4

1.1

0.8

0.8

0.3

0.3

7.7

gha/cap, global hectares per capita.

From Global footprint Network and the University of Sydney, 2001 data.

gha/cap, global hectares per capita.

From Global footprint Network and the University of Sydney, 2001 data.

category, food and goods are the most significant. The finer level of detail in tables such as these can be used to suggest scenarios for policymaking as well as possibilities for individual action. Eliminating animal-based food and doubling plant-based food consumption, for example, could reduce the Ecological Footprint of the average Australian by 20% each year.

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