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This is an archived section of the Scottish Government website. External links, forms and search may not work on archived pages and content/contact details are likely to be out of date.

This page relates to the 2007 version of the National Performance Framework. Information about the current version of the NPF is available on the Scotland Performs Home Page.

National Indicator


Reduce overall ecological footprint

Reduce overall ecological footprint

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Why is this National Indicator important?

This indicator most closely relates to the Government's purpose target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the short and longer term and also our aim to significantly reduce the impact of our consumption and production. Seeking to place our own house in order in terms of harmful emissions or overuse of resources will have a positive influence well beyond our shores. We want Scotland to be a leading nation in sustainable living, reducing the impact we have on both our local and global environment. Our current consumption patterns are unsustainable, with growing demands on the world's resources and its impact on our environment. The ecological footprint gives us an overall measure of the global impact of our everyday choices and offers an estimate of the land and sea area needed to provide all the energy, water, transport, food and materials that we consume.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Many factors influence this indicator; to reduce our ecological footprint we must reduce our waste, energy and transport use and consume more sustainable food and other materials. The crucial first step is a change in our behaviour.

What is the Government's role?

Government needs to work to make sustainable choices in our daily lives easier and to raise public awareness of the impacts of our current consumption patterns. We aim to do a lot more - through taking a lead in sustainable procurement, by reducing waste and increasing recycling and composting of that waste that is created, increasing energy from renewable sources and taking a range of actions to tackle climate change.

How is Scotland performing?

In 2006 Scotland's ecological footprint is estimated at 4.8 global hectares/capita, the same as in 2005. This estimate is based on revised methodology and data and results in lower figures for earlier years than previously reported. In 2006, Scotland's Ecological Footprint per capita was more than double the per capita bio-capacity of the planet (2.1 global hectares/capita). This indicates that if all the people in the world consumed at similar levels to people in Scotland, we would need resources and carbon sinks that equated to more than double the resources of the Earth in order to service that demand.

Ecological footprint for Scotland, 1992 to 2006

Source: Stockholm Environment Institute (Scottish Government, 2009)

View data on ecological footprint


This evaluation is based on: any difference in the percentage within +/- 5% of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A decrease of 5% or more suggests the position is improving; whereas an increase of 5% or more suggests the position is worsening. The threshold of 5% chosen is based on an assessment of the data available at this time, and may need to be reviewed as more information becomes available in the future.

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Further Information

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Statistics Topic Page

Who are our partners?

A wide range of public sector bodies are key to delivering a reduced footprint across public services particularly around reducing waste, offering more sustainable energy and transport, and making more sustainable choices easier.

Related Strategic Objectives

Safer and Stronger


View National Indicator data

Downloadable document:

Data on National Performance Framework National Indicator on Ecological FootprintData on National Performance Framework National Indicator on Ecological Footprint [XLS, 30.5 kb: 26 Jan 2011]
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Performance Improving


Performance Maintaining


Performance Worsening

no info

Performance data currently being collected