Currently, the European economy is using nearly three times the ecological assets that are locally available. This situation cannot be sustained indefinitely. Tools are needed that can help reverse the unsustainable trend. In 2010, an EC funded One Planet Economy Network: Europe (OPEN:EU) project was launched to develop the evidence and innovative practical tools that will allow policy-makers and civil society to identify policy interventions to transform Europe into a One Planet Economy, by 2050. Building on the premise that no indicator alone is able to comprehensively monitor (progress towards) sustainability, the project has drawn on the Ecological, Carbon and Water Footprints to define a Footprint Family suite of indicators, to track human pressure on the planet. An environmentally-extended multi-regional input-output (MRIO) model has then been developed to group the Footprint Family under a common framework and combine the indicators in the family with national economic accounts and trade statistics. Although unable to monitor the full spectrum of human pressures, once grouped within the MRIO model, the Footprint Family is able to assess the appropriation of ecological assets, GHG emissions as well as freshwater consumption and pollution associated with consumption of specific products and services within a specified country. Using MRIO models within the context of Footprint analyses also enables the Footprint Family to take into account full production chains with technologies specific to country of origin.
Keywords: Carbon Footprint; Ecological Footprint; Footprint Family; Modeling; Multi-regional input–output; Water Footprint.
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