Overshoot day: guide for a business compatible with the Earth’s resources

Schneider Electric and Global Footprint Network present an e-book that aims to demonstrate how the combination of climate and resources is now essential to build a competitive advantage in the long term


Earth Overshoot day falls today, 22 August 2020, or the day when humanity will have consumed all the resources made available by the planet and will have to start consuming those of the following year.

In anticipation of this day, Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, and the Global Footprint Network have joined forces to initiate and fuel a strategic conversation on how to generate long-term success for businesses. term.

The two companies have published the e-book “Strategies for One-Planet Prosperity” which aims to demonstrate how this dual challenge (climate and resources) is now essential for building a competitive advantage in the long term. The choice is between planning ahead, supporting people’s need for well-being and promoting the security of resources, thus increasing the possibility of achieving economic success and resilience, or continuing like nothing had happened (‘business-as-usual’) and becoming irrelevant.

“The need to initiate an economic recovery is on everyone’s mind, and the time has come when entrepreneurs and industry leaders must recognize that offering products and services that improve opportunities for mankind is not a question of” doing good “But a necessary choice for business” comments Mathis Wackernagel, founder and president of Global Footprint Network.

The “one-planet prosperity” model was launched last year by Schneider Electric and the Global Footprint Network. This year, the two partners have worked together to demonstrate how companies whose products and services are created and offered to support humanity’s long-term future – helping to move the Earth Overshoot Day date ever further forward – have a greater chance of staying relevant in the long run.

Research conducted by the two organizations shows, for example, that if 100% of the buildings and industrial infrastructures existing in the world were equipped with the technologies for energy efficiency and for the use of renewable sources already available thanks to Schneider Electric and its partner, the Earth Overshoot Day date could move at least another 21 days (assuming there are no major changes in human behavior). This means that energy redevelopment actions alone could make a three-week difference.

To make sense of this figure, think that if we could move Earth Overshoot Day by five days a year, before 2050 we would have arrived at a development model compatible with the resources available on the planet – in line with the agreements. on the climate of Paris. The e-book also contains other examples of companies from various economic sectors that have business models in line with the one-planet model of prosperity.

Each year, Earth Overshoot Day marks the day when humanity has consumed all the biological resources that natural ecosystems can renew throughout the year. Humanity currently uses 60% more than can be renewed: it is as if we were using the resources of 1.6 planets Earth. From the Day of Earth Overexploitation until the end of the year, humanity will increase its ecological deficit with the Earth; this deficit has steadily increased since ecological overexploitation began in the early 1970s, according to the National Footprint & Biocapacity Accounts (NFA) based on the United Nations database (with 15,000 data per country per year).

In 2020, the date falls much later than last year due to a reduction in the Global Ecological Footprint of at least 10% between January 1 and Earth Overshoot Day. According to research by Global Footprint Network, this reduction it was largely due to the slowdown in the transportation and construction sector due to the lockdowns introduced in various parts of the world due to COVID-19. Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 14.5% and the use of forest resources fell by 8%.

“This year more than ever, the Day of Earth Overexploitation offers us an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on the future we want to create – reads the Overshoot Day website – The efforts made around the world to respond to COVID- 19 have shown how it is possible to change our lifestyle and the levels of consumption of ecological resources in a short period of time”.

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