Welcome to Stepping Forward

The Stepping Forward project has carried out a resource flow analysis, ecological footprint analysis and sustainability assessment of the South West of England.

The full reports can be read online (from the menu on the left) or downloaded as PDF documents. An Overview and Key Findings, plus other background information on the project, can be accessed from the menu above.

The Resource Flow Report illustrates the flow of resources through the region’s boundaries and economy and is a vital tool for sustainable resource management. The Ecological Footprint Report illustrates the environmental impacts associated with the consumption patterns of the residents of the region. The Ecological Footprint concept enables the comparison between resources consumed and resources available and therefore illustrates how ecologically sustainable those consumption patterns are.

The aim of Stepping Forward is to stimulate a healthy and informed debate, which will lead to the formation of evidence-based policies, and help all of us understand the actions required to realise the vision of a more sustainable future.

Jonathon Porritt

(Jonathon Porritt was appointed by the Prime Minister as Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission in July 2000. This is the Government's principal source of independent advice across the whole sustainable development agenda. He is also President of Sustainability South West , a member of the Board of the South West Regional Development Agency and a leading writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development.)

"We are at last starting to get real about the challenges of sustainable development. Politicians, business people and individual citizens can't get real about anything unless they've got the data in place, in terms of firm evidence about the true state of play.

Stepping Forward provides a lot of that data for decision makers in the south west - about energy use, material consumption, transport, water and land use, and so on. It takes it out of the zone of technical experts and policy wonks, and pitches it directly at all of us, both as consumers and citizens.

And the challenge? Simple: move from a Three Planet Economy (such as we have now) to a One Planet Economy - such as we have to have if we're going to do right both by those who live in the south west today and by the rest of the world."

Juliet Williams

(Chairman, South West Regional Development Agency)

Extract from Foreword to the Stepping Forward reports:

"By providing us for the first time with a clear understanding of the region's resource and material flows, together with good quality data, [ Stepping Forward ] represents an important step towards a more sustainable South West. The overall message from the report is stark: the region is living significantly beyond its environmental means. It needs to consider urgently how to improve the sustainability of its economic activity and while this will inevitably present challenges, evidence suggests that such robust consideration will also stimulate significant opportunity."

Chanel Stevens

(Vice-Chair, South West Regional Assembly)

Extract from Foreword to the Stepping Forward reports:

"Ensuring successful development in the region in the future requires having a clear view of where the region wishes to be and, critically, knowing where we are now. The Regional Assembly welcomes the publication of the Ecological Footprint of the South West, Stepping Forward, and considers it to provide some hard-hitting messages for the region about its current resource consumption. This report provides a useful 'back-drop' of information and analysis which is both in-depth and cross-cutting.

In making the best use of the available data the report is an important aid in quantifying the likely environmental impacts on the region in the future if our consumption patterns continue at current rates. A welcome key outcome from the report is the identification of the areas that can be most readily addressed in terms of moving towards a more sustainable approach to living in the South West."