Online calculators of ecological footprint:Do they promote or dissuade sustainable behaviour?

Franz, J. and Papyrakis, E. (2011) Online calculators of ecological footprint:Do they promote or dissuade sustainable behaviour? Sustainable Development, 19 (6). pp. 391-401. ISSN 0968-0802

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Abstract

Ecological footprint (EF) indices estimate the impact of an individual's lifestyle on the planet by converting levels of consumption into the amount of land needed to sustain production levels and lifestyle choices. Several popular organizations (e.g. WWF, Global Footprint Network) now offer personalized EF calculators to help inform consumers of the impacts of their personal consumption habits. In this paper, we evaluate the most popular online EF calculators and find that, even when the most environmentally friendly options are adopted, for the majority of available indices, one still exceeds the planet's biocapacity levels. The absence of options to fully offset one's environmental impacts implicitly suggests that there is no truly sustainable level of consumption at current population levels, even under the most prudent consumer choices. Although all online EF calculators claim to be a tool for education to promote sustainable behaviour, their calculations suggest, to the contrary, that as consumers we may postpone but not necessarily prevent environmental catastrophes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: consumer behvaiour,ecological footprint calculators,green lifestyle,sustainability
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2013 15:58
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2020 22:05
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/43998
DOI: 10.1002/sd.446

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