Earth Overshoot Day: Planet’s yearly resource ‘budget’ already spent

The current trend means that humanity is consuming the resources of 1.7 Earths in a year

Earth Overshoot Day marks the day that the planet’s annual “budget” for natural resources such as soil, water and clean air is used up. Monday 29 July is the earliest day this has been recorded. In comparison, 2018’s Overshoot Day was recorded on 1 August. The current trend means that humanity is consuming the resources of 1.7 Earths in a year.

The Global Footprint Network (GFN), the research organisation tracking Earth Overshoot Day, predicts that Earth Overshoot Day will land halfway through the year – in June – by 2030, meaning it would require two entire Earths to sustain current consumption levels.

In response, the GFN has partnered with Schneider Electric to explore how businesses can become “one-planet compatible”, which would act as a “strategic compass to gauge the sustainability value propositions of companies”.

The two companies have jointly published a new whitepaper outlining how businesses can move away from an ecological overshoot by improving resource efficiency and security across their operations and supply chains while also improving global well-being with the budget of the planet’s ecosystem.

Notably, moving Earth Overshoot Day back by just 4.5 days every year would return humanity to using the resources of one planet, rather than 1.7, by 2050.

Specifically, the whitepaper notes that infrastructure retrofits for buildings and the uptake of low-carbon assets such as electric vehicles (EVs) can help move the date of the overshoot back by at least three days. Elsewhere, a digital transformation across industries can push the date by two days, while decentralised, decarbonised and digital power can account for 15 days.

Register for the Earth Overshoot webinar

Along with the whitepaper, the GFN is also working with edie and will appear on a one-off webinar alongside sustainability experts from Tesco and AB Sugar, to outline what steps businesses can take to champion the circular economy and help move the date of the overshoot back.

This one-hour webinar, hosted on Earth Overshoot Day 2019, taking place Monday 29 July at 2pm (BST) and hosted in association with Centrica Business Solutions, will hear from businesses that are radically reinventing their business models and decoupling growth from resource consumption to advance a circular economy and operate within the means of our planet. 


There is a counter-narrative: one of businesses transitioning away from linear, degenerative business models towards circular economy-based strategies based on regenerative, closed-loop supply chains.

So, what exactly does that counter-narrative look like? How are businesses collaborating, innovating and actuating to achieve a circular economy for themselves and their sectors? And what are the real levers for change that can effectively decouple business growth from resource consumption – even in the most ecologically impactful sectors? All these questions and more will be answered during today’s webinar at 2pm. Register here.

Matt Mace

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