Overview: The Global Footprint Network helps governments and corporations achieve sustainability goals while educating the public about their collective ecological impact on the planet. 

In their own words: “Since opening their doors in 2003, the Global Footprint Network (GFN) has worked “with more than 50 countries, 50 cities, and 70 global partners to deliver scientific insights that have driven high-impact policy and investment decisions.” Overall, the GFN prides themselves on delivering solutions that are compatible with their partners’ missions, work that is governed “by a simple question: how can we support you to be more successful in achieving your goals?” The GFN publishes up to date and easy to follow open-access data encoding society’s environmental footprint, “so that as many people as possible can use it to help create a more sustainable future.

How it works:

The GFN is focused on five broad categories of environmental stewardship,

  1. Helping nature flourish,
  2. Designing smart cities,
  3. Decarbonizing energy grids,
  4. Transforming food consumption, and
  5. Addressing population growth.

Their core consulting services for NGOs, businesses, and governments include footprint calculators (i.e., with DestiMED, WWF), environmental data (i.e., with Pictet Bank, European Environment Agency), sustainability campaigns (i.e., with WWF France, GermanWatch, Schneider Electric, PharmaCielo, BC Hydro) and footprint assessments (i.e., with Zero Association (Portugal), City of Nancy, France). 

In addition, the GFN provides economic recommendations through their Finance for Change Initiative, researching environmental risks for investors, credit rating agencies, and countries. Through this initiative, the GFN works with bond investors and governments regarding climate change impacts, stranded assets, ecological constraints, consumption patterns, and resource flows.

The GFN runs its own campaigns events that are aimed at spreading sustainability solutions to individuals, including Earth Overshoot Day. Overshoot Day marks the date each year when our collective environmental impact exceeds environmental limits, which fell on August 22 in 2020. The GFN connects its community with free services (for example, see their Footprint Calculator) and through initiatives urging each of us to help #movethedate.