Global Footprint Network
2019 Annual Report


Global Footprint Network
2019 Annual Report

Message from President Mathis Wackernagel, Ph.D.

Mathis WackernagelWe are proud that 2019 was a year of significant output and record impact at Global Footprint Network. It is also a year during which we observed encouraging breakthroughs in the public mindset about sustainability, as exemplified by the resounding success of “green” candidates at the European general elections. Earth Overshoot Day solidified its popularity as a mainstream event around the globe, as it improved traction in Asia, Latin America and even in the United States, overall with over 25% more media impressions than the year prior. Public demand for solutions is clearly gaining momentum. Particularly stunning was the rapidly emerging youth movement, largely inspired by Greta Thunberg. It has already helped shift European politics and is energizing the climate debate around the world.

And still 2019 had the earliest Earth Overshoot Day date in human history. The trends are not yet turning through deliberate interventions. The result is increased resource fragility of the human economy.

Given this mismatch between where we need to go and where we are, Ecological Footprint accounting remains quintessential. Without reversing our loss of resource security, many people’s lives could get harmed. For that we need effective management and decisions tools like the Footprint. And if we get the relationship with our planet right, not only can economies succeed, but we can get to a world where all thrive within the means of our one-planet. You can learn more about our strategy here.

Making the Footprint useful and practical led 2019 to a number of highlights, including:

  • The launch of the #MoveTheDate Solutions map, the crowd-sourced social platform. It extends our successful Footprint Calculator. Some 3,000 members and hundreds of solutions populated the map within the first 6 months of its launch.
  • The Footprint Calculator usage kept soaring in 2019, with more than 730,000 new users added during the Earth Overshoot Day campaign alone – a remarkable feat since teachers and students from Europe and the U.S. typically comprise the large majority of users, yet the campaign occurred during their summer break.
  • The publication of the ebook, developed in partnership with Schneider Electric, about business strategy when one’s long-term success depends on the sustainable well-being of humanity.
  • The largest audience ever was reached with our campaign to #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day, drawing the contributions of global influencers such as Greta Thunberg and Pope Francis, while global coverage reached more than 4 billion media impressions on 6,500+ websites in 120+ countries.

We are tremendously grateful to the generous donors who make our work possible. Thank you for helping us grow our impact and contribute to the needed sustainability transformation.

With warmest wishes,


Mathis Wackernagel
President & Co-Founder
Global Footprint Network


What happens when an infinite-growth economy runs into a finite planet?


Water shortages, overgrazing, desertification, and species extinction.


Deforestation, reduced cropland productivity and fishery collapse.


Each of these crises, is a symptom of a single, over-riding issue.


Humanity is simply demanding more
than the Earth can provide.


Though resource and population trends have tremendous inertia,
we believe they can be reversed.


Global Footprint Network has the tools to help individuals, cities, and countries thrive in a resource-constrained world.

OUR MISSION is to help end ecological overshoot by making ecological limits central to decision-making.

OUR VISION is that all can thrive within the means of our one planet.

2019 was an exceptional year for building momentum to #MoveTheDate.

The Footprint Calculator was used 4.1 million times in 2019.

Our mobile-friendly calculator (available in eight languages) continues to be a widely-used and efficient tool to help individuals measure their Ecological Footprint, determine their personal Earth Overshoot Day, and learn about solutions that can help #MoveTheDate.

Calculator Testimonial

"A year ago, my personal overshoot day was April 14 and now it’s August 22! I think it’s important to get my personal overshoot day down to needing the resources of only 1 Earth (or, ideally, less than 1) and am so excited by the strides I've made over just one year. I truly believe that, no matter where you live, it is possible for everyone to live happy and healthy lives without using up more resources than our planet can renew."

SHAUNA KOSORIS, Writer and Narrative Designer, Canada

Earth Overshoot Day is the date when we use more from nature than our planet can regenerate in the entire year. In 2019, it fell on July 29.

Overshoot Day
By the Numbers

media impressions from 6,500 websites
solutions posted on the #MoveTheDate Solutions map
countries covered Overshoot Day
global influencers, including Pope Francis, talked about it

Overshoot Day
In the News

New #MoveTheDate Solutions Map

move the date map of the world

We launched the #MoveTheDate Solutions map. Still in a beta version, the platform has already garnered more than 3,000 members and 800 solutions. As we move to the next step to improve its content quality and intensify engagement, we look forward to working with you to curate and grow it into a powerful tool for knowledge sharing and relationship building to advance sustainability in the real world, one project at a time.

Businesses are embracing the one-planet prosperity framework.

Together with Schneider Electric, one of the world’s leading energy efficiency companies that is driving decarbonization, Global Footprint Network helped make the business case for one-planet prosperity, developing a framework based on the Ecological Footprint metric. The resulting white paper argues that businesses’ long-term success, across all sectors of the economy, depends on their business model being aligned with the necessary goal of living well within the means of our planet’s ecological budget. To launch this much-needed conversation in the business world, Schneider Electric’s CEO and Chairman Jean-Pascal Tricoire co-authored this op-ed in Fortune Magazine with Mathis Wackernagel.

Data lovers worldwide dived into our popular Ecological Footprint Explorer open data platform.

activists, academics, and analysts visited the Footprint Explorer open data platform

Data User Testimonials

"I think that every human being has to take it [Ecological Footprint data] very seriously because we don't have the time...I think the new generation has to use the tools that science provides to make it a better world, to improve the Footprint, to improve the statistics, but also the quality of life."

ROSALIA ARTEAGA, Former President and Vice President of Ecuador, Ex-Secretary of OTCA, President of FIDAL, Ecuador

"I’ve always wondered about consumption relative to the Earth’s capacity. Global Footprint Network has excellent data and fantastic graphics and maps that summarize the impact of lifestyle choices in various countries."

RON THOMPSON, Writer and Economist, Canada

We made progress in the Ecological Footprint Initiative with York University, Toronto.

Our collaboration with York University to build independent national data accounts made steady progress. The Footprint Data Foundation (FODAFO) was officially incorporated in 2019 as a joint venture of Global Footprint Network and York University, with the goal to “inform the public and specific entities about how to measure Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity and how to use the data to advance sustainability.” FODAFO also confirmed the first appointments to its Science Advisory Committee led by Dr. Peter Victor: Dr. David Lin, Ed Hanna, Dr. Gordon McBean. The committee is providing advice about proposals to improve, and implement changes in, the methodology of the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts.

Thank you for your generous support!

Our Supporters

Our Team

Peter Seidel is an architect, teacher, author, environmentalist, and loyal Global Footprint Network friend and supporter. He shares why he’s been supporting our work for many years.



Our family of websites — is Global Footprint Network’s main site and offers all the background on the Ecological Footprint and its applications — provides all key results for the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts on an open data platform — allows individuals to estimate their own Footprint and their personal Overshoot Date.  Is the entry point to the #MoveTheDate map — hosts Earth Overshoot Day and features solutions to #MoveTheDate — highlights the relevance of Ecological Footprint and re­lated results for the finance industry — applies the Ecological Footprint logic to Switzerland’s competitiveness and — provide information about the Ecologi­cal Footprint in English and Chinese – Footprint Data Foundation is the newly established, independent organization to host the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts. The intent is also to have this data organization be embraced by an alliance of international institutions, as explained at