Ecological Footprint Key Findings

Ecological footprint analysis

In 2001, the South West residents' ecological footprint was 27.4 million gha (global hectares) or 5.56 gha per person.

  • Materials and waste were 10.4 million gha - 38% of the total ecological footprint.
  • Food was 8.0 million gha - 29% of the total ecological footprint - of which 77% was animal-based food.
  • Direct energy was 5.0 million gha - 18% of the total ecological footprint - of which 71% was domestic energy use.
  • Personal transport was 2.6 million gha - 10% of the total ecological footprint - of which 79% was car travel.
  • Built land was 1.3 million gha - 5% of the total ecological footprint.
  • Water was the smallest ecological footprint, 0.05 million gha, (<1% of the total).

Sustainability assessment

If everyone on the planet consumed as much as an average South West resident, we would need three Earths to support global resource consumption sustainably.

The South West's biocapacity is 1.91 gha per person, very close to the earthshare of 1.9 gha per person. The South West has a higher than average bioproductivity and a higher than average population density.

Comparing biocapacity with the ecological footprint of 5.56 gha per person, shows that the South West is living significantly beyond its biocapacity means.


The average earthshare is 1.9 gha. To bring South west residents within the earthshare would require a reduction of 66% in their current ecological footprint.