When it comes to sustainable development, one of the most frequently employed terms is "ecological footprint." Learn more about the term in the article below by joining KimEcopak.
What is the ecological footprint?
Definition of ecological footprintHuman consumption of natural resources has become a burden and has surpassed the threshold of the Earth's ability to supply and regenerate. To arrive at this result, scientists use a measure known as the ecological footprint.
Since the 1990s, two scientists at the University of British Columbia, William Rees and Mathies Wackernagel, have been developing the concept of Ecological Print. This concept is used as a measuring tool. The ecological footprint can be defined as an individual's or community's environmental impact measured as the amount of land required to sustain their use of natural resources.
Why is the ecological footprint important?
- The model allows for the comparison of lifestyles, per capita consumption, and population statistics.
- At the same time, the ecological footprint helps people and governments around the world become more conscious of the consequences of overconsumption and overpopulation.
Components of ecological footprintEcological Footprint Accounting quantifies the demand for and supply of nature. It tracks the utilization of productive surface areas. Typically these areas are:
- Grazing land
- Fishing grounds
- Built-up land
- Forest area
- Carbon demand on land.
Ecological footprint calculatorThe Ecological footprint is measured in global hectares (gha). The area of this land is measured in hectares. And 1 hectare equals 1000m2 of land.
Individuals, governments, and human activities such as manufacturing and construction can all have an ecological footprint. The larger a country's ecological footprint, the more surface area it consumes, absorbing energy and natural resources.
Individuals' ecological footprint is calculated as the aggregate of needs that compete for biologically productive territory, such as cropland to grow potatoes or cotton, or forest to provide timber or trap carbon dioxide emissions. After that, each of these materials and wastes is converted into an equivalent amount of global hectares.
The ecological footprint of a country is the add up of all of its population. Current analysis shows that on average the Canadian ecological footprint is 7.9 gha. This indicates that it takes 7.9 hectares of land and sea throughout the world to support each Canadian. And here are some ecological footprints per capital of some other countries according to Global Footprint Network Data:
- United States: 7.8gha
- France: 4.3gha
- Qatar: 12.0gha
- United Arab Emirate: 8.9gha
- Australia: 6.1gha
Why should we reduce the ecological footprint?Reduce your environmental footprint by doing things that are better for the environment. One important aspect of this is reducing your carbon footprint, which means lowering your carbon emissions. As a result, reducing one's ecological footprint has various advantages.
- Protecting natural resources and ensuring their availability for future generations: Protecting natural resources and ensuring their availability for future generations: By using less natural resources such as water, energy, and materials, you assist to protect these resources for future generations.
- Helping to mitigate climate change: carbon emissions, such as carbon dioxide, cause the Earth to warm. This can cause a variety of issues, including harsh weather and rising sea levels. You can help halt global warming by using less energy and driving less.
- Helps to preserve biodiversity: By using fewer resources, you are also helping to maintain the natural environments of animals and plants.
- Contributing to the long-term development of the economy: Being more eco-friendly can benefit the economy. It has the potential to produce jobs in industries such as renewable energy and conservation. Furthermore, by reducing waste, we can save money in the long run.
Ecological footprint in the F&B industry
The food and beverage sectors are extensive encompassing not just food manufacturing but also product packaging and delivery.
In particular, the food industry is responsible for approximately 34% of global CO2 emissions, as well as a significant share of land use and forestry. Meanwhile, approximately one-third of food is in excess as a result of over-shopping.
Food packaging is another issue. The growing demand for food manufacturing and packing demands more energy and natural resources. Billions of plastic packaging products, for example, can take up to 1000 years to degrade after being made and consumed every day. Packaging made of plastic has become a burden for the environment and future generations.
Along with growing consumer awareness of environmental challenges, the trend of becoming eco-friendly is gaining traction, and it is even becoming a way of life. The food and beverage business is gradually adopting the trend of sustainable development. In recent years, eco-friendly stores, sustainable restaurants, and green packaging have become increasingly popular.
How to reduce the ecological footprint of your restaurantsHere are some strategies for restaurants to lessen their ecological footprint:
- Use seasonal and local foods: Using local food sources allows restaurants to have fresh and ready meals at all times while reducing transportation fees and operational costs.
- Reduce food waste: Use food carefully to create a diversified menu. Restaurants can also use leftovers to enrich plants.
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances: Every restaurant requires a huge amount of energy daily. Investing in energy-saving appliances or employing a readily available energy source, such as sunlight, will help restaurants save money and minimize carbon emissions.
- Use green packaging instead of plastic packaging. When serving on-site, a restaurant, for example, can consider employing ceramic, glass-based cups instead of plastic cups. To decrease plastic waste during delivery, choose compostable packaging such as wooden cutlery or sugarcane boxes.
Going green with KimEcopakHere at KimEcopak, we support restaurants on the path toward sustainable development. We offer eco-friendly packaging such as cutlery, straws, and boxes manufactured from eco-friendly materials such as bamboo, wood, sugarcane, paper, and so on. Simultaneously, we collaborate with recycling partners in Vietnam to reduce carbon footprints, which can help reduce the impact on the world and future generations.
Finally, the ecological footprint is a great tool for demonstrating how dependent humans are on nature. The food and beverage business has a wide range of environmental effects. Every restaurant will need to be responsible for the long-term development of future generations.