CARDIFF’S ecological f o ot p r i nt
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Measuring Cardiff’s impact on the Earth What is an Ecological Footprint? Cardiff’s Ecological Footprint Where is Cardiff’s Footprint heaviest? The food we eat The energy we use The waste we produce How we travel Where we live, work and play Our visitors and events Stepping up to the challenge How was Cardiff’s Footprint measured? Further information and links
CARDIFF’S ecological footprint
This document is available in English and Welsh on Cardiff Council’s website www.cardiff.gov.uk/sustainabledevelopment . The technical report “Reducing Cardiff’s Ecological Footprint: A resource accounting tool for sustainable consumption” is also on the website. This research was published in March 2005 by Cardiff Council, BRASS Research Centre, Cardiff University and WWF Cymru and provides the background material for this publication.
This document is printed on recycled paper
Measuring Cardiff’s impact on the Earth
Between January 2002 and January 2005 a partnership including Cardiff Council, the BRASS Research Centre at Cardiff University and Stockholm Environment Institute worked on a project to measure the city’s Ecological Footprint. As a result of this work, summarised in this document, we now have a clear idea of the ecological impact that Cardiff’s residents have on the global environment. The Ecological Footprint study has demonstrated that Cardiff, like most cities in the developed world is clearly living beyond its means. The report highlights where our consumption patterns are having the most effect on the ﬁnite resources of the planet. The ecological footprint gives decision makers ideas about how to manage and minimise these impacts as Cardiff develops. This research challenges every citizen, household and organisation in Cardiff to look at more intelligent ways of using our natural resources to limit our impacts on our increasingly fragile world. It can help us all to plan how we can live more sustainably in the future and in greater balance with our one and only earth.
What is an Ecological Footprint ?
Ecological footprinting is a new technique which national, regional and local governments can use to measure the environmental impact of their population on nature. An ecological footprint calculates how much land area is required for an average citizen for everything they consume (products and resources) and produce (waste and emissions) per year.
Comparing Cardiff’s Ecological Footprint
Size of Ecological Footprint (global hectares)
0 2 4 6 8 10
USA Australia London Cardiff Wales Ukraine Brazil India Ethiopia
“WWF Living Planet Report 2004” WWF, UNEP, Global Footprint Network (2004)
A footprint is expressed in global hectares (gha) of ‘earthshare’. If we divide the bio-productive land and sea on the planet by the number of people who need to use it, we currently get an earthshare of only 1.89 gha per person (WWF 2004). This is basically how much natural resource there is to go around. Footprints of countries show how unsustainable our western lifestyles are – an average United States citizen has a huge footprint of 9.5 gha, this is 5 times their fair earthshare. An Indian citizen only has a footprint of 0.8 gha, well within their fair earthshare. A Cardiff citizen has an ‘unsustainable’ footprint of 5.59 gha, meaning if everyone on earth lived the same lifestyles as people in Cardiff, we would need almost three planets worth of resources to survive.
Footprints highlight different ‘component’ parts of our resource consumption. This means we can get a good idea of how different types of resource use contribute to the overall footprint and ecological impact. The food and products we buy, the energy we use, the impact of our travel, the infrastructure which surrounds us and the waste we produce are the biggest components of a city’s’ footprint. By isolating the different parts of the footprint, we can then think about how to use resources more efﬁciently. Other pioneering ‘footprinting’ cities in the UK, Europe and North America think that footprinting is a valuable tool to help decision makers plan for a more sustainable future. Cardiff Council and Cardiff University believe that the results of this study will help to inform future planning and development in the city in a number of ways:
it provides evidence to inform debate and challenge existing policy to slow down the growth of the ecological footprint it can be used as an awareness raising tool to engage with partners and citizens it can be re-measured at regular intervals to see whether Cardiff is becoming more, or less, ecologically sustainable
it has identiﬁed the most signiﬁcant areas of resource use and those that have the largest ecological impact - the ‘big hitters’
Cardiff’s Ecological Footprint
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in 2001 Cardiff’s total ecological footprint was 1,717,807 gha the ecological footprint of a Cardiff resident was 5.59 gha per capita. Cardiff used up 125 times its land area for the resources it consumed
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Cardiff’s footprint is equal to 82% of the land area of Wales the average citizen is using almost three times their fair ‘earthshare’ of resources to support their lifestyles a Cardiff resident’s footprint is greater than that of average Welsh citizen (5.25 gha) and UK citizen (5.35 gha) nearly 90% of the world’s population has a lower ecological footprint than that of a Cardiff resident some Cardiff residents will have a footprint as low as 2.8 gha and others as high as 7 gha
Cities Revealed Aerial Photography. Copyright. The GeoInformation Group. 2004
1gha is roughly equal to the size of the Millennium Stadium pitch
on average, each citizen would need to reduce their ecological impact by as much as 66% to become sustainable. it is likely that by 2005 Cardiff’s footprint will have grown to equal the land area of Wales
Where is Cardiff’s Footprint heaviest ?
The footprint study helps us to look at resource use in Cardiff in a number of ways. We can isolate different parts of the footprint to show which parts have the largest ecological impact. The results in the table below show the huge impact that Cardiff’s 307,300 residents and 123,580 households had on the footprint in 2001 through their consumption patterns. 78% of the ecological footprint is down to household consumption alone. The types of food that we buy, how we heat our homes, how we travel and what we buy in the shops all add to the city’s footprint. The study also shows that the type of physical development happening in the city has a big impact on the city’s footprint. The key message from the results and Cardiff University’s analysis is that there is a fundamental challenge for the city in slowing down the growth of the footprint, never mind reducing it. So what is the information telling us about the patterns of resource use? Why is the footprint so high in some components and what can be done about this? The following sections highlight some of the key information coming out of the study and the challenges that lie ahead. For details about what information is included in each footprint component and how Cardiff’s Footprint was measured please see page 12 of this report.
Big ecological hitters
food and drink energy use passenger travel the city’s infrastructure and housing consumables and durables others (including government, services, holiday activities see page 12) TOTAL waste*(see below)
gha (global hectares) per capita
1.33 0.99 0.99 0.90 0.64
% of footprint
24% 18% 18% 16% 11% 14% 100% 15%
0.77 5.59 0.84
*Waste can either be included in other components e.g. the waste produced as part of the food and drink footprint or it can separated out into a ‘satellite account’. If it is treated as a satellite, then the waste footprint is also large in comparison to other components.
The food we eat
Food is the largest component of the ecological footprint (1.33 gha per capita) and much of this impact is down to the production methods and the resources used in processing the food. Cardiff residents consume large amounts of food and drink both in the home and in restaurants. Much of this food is grown or reared in an intensive manner and then manufactured or processed in some way. These activities involve large amounts of energy and land and result in a high food footprint.
Food for thought
Addressing this ecological impact will mean altering the ways we purchase, source and learn about food in Cardiff. The best way to slow the growth of Cardiff’s
food and drink consumption accounts for 24% of Cardiff’s ecological footprint in global terms 98% of the food footprint is due to production and processing and 2% of the food footprint is due to transport only 1% of food consumed in Cardiff is organic food eaten in the home accounts for 68% of the food footprint and food eaten out accounts for 32% 32% of food and drink is imported from abroad 16% of food bought by Cardiff residents is never eaten and ends up going directly into the waste stream meat and meat products account for 33% of the food footprint and dairy products for 31% fruit and vegetables are responsible for 10% of the food footprint, alcoholic drinks, 10% confectionery and biscuits 4.6% and bread 3.6%
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food footprint is to increase our consumption of fresh, seasonal and organic foods rather than eat processed foods. School meals, events and public and private sector catering are key areas for action. Encouraging organic and local production and minimising food waste are also
key messages from the study. Caterers, hotels, businesses and public organisations have a central role to play here as well as each individual when they shop for food.
ﬁve steps to make a difference
1 2 3 4 5
Consume less processed food and drink Consume more organic, seasonal and local food and drink Consume less meat and dairy products and more vegetables Produce less food waste Use less packaging for food and drink
The energy we use
We all depend on energy to heat our homes, cook our food or to power the electrical goods we use. The Footprint study shows that the big ecological impact of our energy use is through the use of electricity and gas in our households, businesses and ofﬁces in the city, through in small apartments and ﬂats all contribute to a growing energy footprint in Cardiff.
A young, energetic Capital
A Low Carbon City?
In order to reduce the growth of the energy footprint, the research suggests a dramatic shift towards renewable energy - to make Cardiff a ‘low carbon’ city. Put simply, we need to become less reliant on fossil fuels and source renewable energy from solar, wind and tidal sources to power Cardiff. Our existing homes and ofﬁces need to become more energy efﬁcient through better insulation, and the use of renewable energy technologies like solar water heating and
the energy footprint is 0.99 gha per resident which accounts for 18% of the city’s total ecological footprint 27% of the total energy footprint is due to direct energy use within the home 58% of energy use in the home is for heating, 24% for water heating and 18% for cooking and lighting on average, every Cardiff resident is responsible for 2.5 tonnes of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere through their energy use an average Cardiff resident uses 9898 (kwh) of energy a year. This is more energy than an average Welsh or UK resident 66% of Cardiff’s domestic energy is sourced from gas, 25% from electricity and 2% from coal only 6.8% of domestic energy in Cardiff is sourced from renewable sources electricity consumption (including nuclear energy) is the biggest hitter in the energy footprint.
travel and in the ‘embodied’ energy in the goods we purchase (the energy used to produce and transport the goods). The research found that increased disposable income, increases in the number of electrical goods per household and the increase
photovoltaics. There is a real opportunity of incorporating these sustainable design features into new homes, ofﬁces, hotels and shops across the city. This energy saving can save us money and reduce Cardiff’s contribution to climate change through its CO2 emissions.
ﬁve steps to make a difference
1 2 3 4 5 6
Use less energy and waste less energy Become less reliant on fossil fuels Source energy from renewables (solar, wind and tidal) Design new buildings to be energy efﬁcient Set and meet targets to reduce CO2 emissions
The waste we produce
Reducing the amount of waste that Cardiff residents produce, and deciding what we do with our waste are two of the key questions highlighted by the footprint study. We have a very clear idea of the amount of waste that is produced by household consumption in the city, as much of this is put into landﬁll or recycled. The research is less clear about the ecological impact of ‘commercial’ waste being produced by shops, ofﬁces and businesses, as no data was available to the study. However, the messages about reducing the waste footprint are very clear. The project has shown that if Cardiff residents continue to produce waste at the current high levels, by 2015 we will have increased the waste footprint by as much 54%. This growth is unsustainable.
Reduce, Re-use, Recycle
While Cardiff Council recycling policies, voluntary sector projects and residents’ efforts to recycle are beginning to tackle this problem, this study shows this is still not enough. Increasing recycling, composting and targeting kitchen and paper and card waste in the home will only slow the waste footprint’s growth. Businesses need to begin reducing the amount of paper, card and food waste going into the waste stream. Future commercial, leisure and housing developments need to consider their future ‘lifetime’ waste footprints in their planning and local
the waste footprint is equivalent to 0.84 gha or 15 % of the total footprint of Cardiff an average Cardiff resident produces nearly 10kg of waste per week in 2001 on average, a Cardiff resident produced 124kg of paper and card waste and 40kg of glass waste 64% of domestic waste can be recycled or composted 16% of food bought by Cardiff residents is never eaten and ends up going directly into the waste stream the waste items contributing most to the waste footprint are paper and card, putrescibles (anything that rots down) , DIY waste and nappies each citizen would need to reduce their waste production from 507 kg per year to 300kg to signiﬁcantly reduce the waste footprint
markets for recyclables need to be developed. Other cities have successfully introduced waste charging schemes and reduced collections to try and reduce the amount of waste being produced. It is clear that in order to make a real difference to the footprint, every individual, household, ofﬁce, business and event needs to signiﬁcantly reduce the amount of waste produced.
ﬁve steps to make a difference
1 2 3 4 5
Create less waste in the ﬁrst place Reduce the amount of paper and card entering the waste stream Reduce food waste and compost where possible Prepare to re-use, recycle and minimise waste items when you buy or plan anything Consider the waste footprint of new buildings and developments
How we travel
15 years will be signiﬁcant. This would be made worse by any further development placed across Cardiff which encouraged car use, and by increased numbers of people travelling by air. Even though Cardiff Council and the rail and bus companies help to reduce the footprint (and congestion) by encouraging people to use their car less, the study suggests that a more radical approach is needed. This evidence can help in the debate about congestion charging and similar demand management policies in the city like reduced
From here to there
passenger transport is responsible for 18% of Cardiff’s total ecological footprint (0.99 gha)
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an average Cardiff resident travelled over 21,000 km in 2001 air and car travel account for 95% of the ecological impact the average resident travelled nearly 25km (over 15 miles) a day by car in 2001 if air travel is excluded only 10% of passenger km were by public transport, cycling or on foot an average schoolchild in Cardiff travelled around 1,100 km to and from school in 2001 (most of this was by car) to reduce Cardiff’s transport footprint by 10%, every Cardiff resident would need to reduce their air travel by the equivalent of a return journey to Barcelona a 20% reduction in the distances travelled by car could help to reduce the Cardiff transport footprint by over 18% if all car drivers in Cardiff worked at home one day a week this would reduce the transport footprint by 6%
The way Cardiff residents travel to work, to school, to their leisure activities or on holiday are all considered as part of the transport component of the Ecological Footprint. The travel ‘modes’ with the biggest ecological impact for Cardiff are car travel and air travel as they use a large amount of energy. Public transport, via bus and rail are more sustainable and result in a lower footprint per passenger kilometre. Cardiff is very lucky to have a surface rail network and good bus network. Nevertheless, the footprint study shows the biggest transport challenge we have is getting people out of their cars and using more sustainable, less polluting forms of transport.
Moving in the right direction?
The research showed that the role of car and air travel in footprint growth over the next
parking. What is clear is that extending the bus network across Cardiff is a central part of the solution. The study also shows the high ecological cost of our increased access to budget airline travel. The study suggests that Cardiff could offset the CO2 impacts of this travel through carbon sequestration projects like tree planting, through renewable energy projects and green tourism initiatives.
ﬁve steps to make a difference
1 2 3 4 5 8
Reduce international and domestic air travel Use cars less for getting around Use buses and trains and walk and cycle more Travel by train rather than by air in the UK Think ahead - minimise transport impacts when you plan your journey
Where we live, work and play
17.5% of the infrastructure footprint is due to the ecological impact of Cardiff’s housing. 99% of this impact is due to the existing housing stock and just over 1% down to new build. development as well as their initial impacts in construction. As the ﬁgure for the general infrastructure footprint is shared equally among all UK residents, Cardiff’s role as a capital city is not drawn out in the study. This means that the Cardiff’s infrastructure footprint is likely to be an underestimation of the ecological impact of the city’s hospitals, universities, public buildings and shops. It is also likely that Cardiff’s citizens bear an ecological burden for the rest of Wales because of this shared infrastructure. Further research is needed on this component.
The Cardiff Footprint study has also highlighted the ecological impact of the city’s built environment or ‘infrastructure’ which has a footprint of 0.90gha per capita and accounts for 16% of the total ecological footprint of Cardiff. This part of the footprint is split into two.
82.5% of this is “general infrastructure” which is Cardiff’s buildings, shops, railways, roads, leisure centres, stadia and cinemas etc. Because of the limitations of the footprint tool at present, this is an averaged ﬁgure for the whole of the UK.
The key message here is that to slow the growth of the infrastructure footprint, existing and new built developments need to use natural resources, such as energy and materials more efﬁciently. Using renewable energy as a source of power, increasing the energy efﬁciency in new and existing buildings and using sustainable design techniques to maximise the efﬁciency of their build and use are key. The study also shows that planners and developers need to begin to take account of the ecological impacts that will arise during the life of the
1 2 3 4 5
Become energy efﬁcient in work and at home Incorporate renewable energy and energy efﬁciency into the design stage Consider resource use and impacts over the lifetime of the development Identify areas where resource efﬁciency now can save money in the future Use materials which have had low environmental impact in their manufacture or production
ﬁve steps to make a difference
Our visitors and events
Cardiff welcomed 10.6 million tourists in 2001. 29% of these visitors came from overseas and the rest from the UK. Tourists bring huge economic and social beneﬁts to the city, but they also carry a large ecological burden. and in event management. Cardiff could market itself as a responsible, green, sustainable city, acknowledging the impacts of tourism and managing them effectively.
FA Cup Final Footprint
the 73,000 supporters created an ecological footprint equal to a land area of 3051 football pitches (one football pitch is about the same as one global hectare) 55% of the FA Cup Final footprint was how supporters travelled to the match, equivalent to 1670 football pitches (gha) consumption of ‘high footprint” products such as alcoholic drinks and processed meat products resulted in a food footprint equivalent to 1381 football pitches (gha) waste generated by the event produced a waste footprint equivalent to 146 football pitches (gha) the Millennium Stadium’s impact is very low per visitor over the potentially long lifespan of the venue - equivalent to one tenth of a football pitch the footprint of the FA Cup ﬁnal could be reduced signiﬁcantly by encouraging greater use of public transport, and reduction of food, paper and card waste
The study showed that the footprint of a Cardiff tourist could be as high as 8.7 gha. Tourists impact in those areas where the Cardiff resident’s footprint is already at its heaviest: food consumption; waste production; transport and energy use. On an aggregate level, the ecological footprint of tourism in Cardiff in 2001 was higher than that of its residents.
Cardiff, like other cities hosts a large number of events every year including conferences, concerts and major sporting events. These events bring great economic and social beneﬁts to the city and help to raise the proﬁle of Cardiff nationally and internationally. Ecological footprinting can be used to measure the environmental effects of these events, and help event organisers to manage these impacts more effectively. As part of the Cardiff Footprint project Cardiff University measured the ecological footprint of the 2004 FA Cup Final between Millwall and Manchester United at the Millennium Stadium.
How can this ecological impact be more effectively managed? Accessible public transport between current and future tourist venues in Cardiff would help to reduce the impact of car travel. Encouraging tourism partners in the city to adopt environmental management systems would also help in minimising waste and energy use in hotels, tourist destinations
The results from this study showed that the fans footprint is concentrated where the Cardiff resident’s impact is highest.
1 2 3 4 5 10
ﬁve steps to make a difference
Plan and manage events with their ecological impact in mind Encourage good environmental practice in venues and accommodation Encourage visitors to events to arrive by public transport Encourage event caterers and visitors to minimise food, paper and card waste Provide information and facilities for recycling to visitors at events
Stepping up to the challenge
Many of the themes coming out of the research are familiar, but for the ﬁrst time, we have an ecological baseline for Cardiff, against which our plans and activities can be measured. Decision makers can start asking themselves “what would the impact of our plans have on Cardiff’s ecological footprint?” The advantage of the ecological footprint is that it can help us to make more informed choices for sustainable living. The messages from this study are clear. Cardiff is living beyond its means in terms of natural resource use and global ecological impact. There is a challenge to slow down the growth of the footprint, and the situation may be worse than we think as the work underplays the impact of commercial waste and the role of Cardiff as a capital city. As the ﬁve steps in each section of this report show, careful long term planning and more efﬁcient use of our resources can help to alleviate the ecological pressures caused by our consumption. As citizens, householders, businesses and public bodies, we all have the capacity to make decisions which have less impact on the planet.
Following this report, further work by Cardiff Council and Cardiff University will seek to improve our understanding of the footprint and how its growth can be more effectively managed. Stockholm Environment Institute will also be developing software for Cardiff Council and its partners to use to plan for more sustainable futures.
How was Cardiff’s Footprint measured ?
Between January 2003 and January 2005, a partnership including Cardiff Council, the BRASS Research Centre at Cardiff University and Stockholm Environment Institute undertook a collaborative project to measure Cardiff’s Ecological Footprint. The Cardiff Footprint study was part of a larger project including a footprint of both Wales and Gwynedd. A partnership of organisations, including the National Assembly, WWF Cymru, Welsh Development Agency and the Environment Agency used a £300,000 BiffAward grant to undertake the study. Stockholm Environment Institute (based in York) measured the footprint and the BRASS Research Centre at Cardiff University worked with Cardiff Council to collect data and develop a series of sustainable policy options to reduce the footprint of each area. The footprint measure includes detailed information on consumption in the baseline year of 2001:
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consumables and durables – clothing, IT equipment, furniture, fridges, washing machines etc. services – the impacts of water supply, hospitals, schools, universities, police, commercial and ﬁnance the impacts of Cardiff resident’s holidays abroad waste and tourism (as satellite accounts)
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food and drink consumed electricity, gas, oil and renewable energy used in the home passenger travel by car, bus, rail, cycling and air infrastructure- motorways, railways, bridges, stadiums and leisure developments and house building maintenance and repair
The footprint model developed by Stockholm Environment Institute included as much local information as possible and also included information from national data sets providing a shared UK wide footprint for some components. Please see the enclosed CD Rom for the detailed methodology.
The following organisations are all partners in the Reducing Wales’ Footprint project
Further Footprint information and links
Measure your own personal footprint
To ﬁnd out how your ecological footprint compares to individuals in other parts of the world visit the following website by Redeﬁning Progress. Answer 15 questions and a footprint calculator will work out your personal impact on the planet. www.myfootprint.org/ To ﬁnd out how you can reduce your own footprint by taking action in the home, work in the shops and in your leisure time please visit the following: Sus-Life website by the Welsh Consumer Council www.sus-life.org.uk/ WWF ‘Take Action’ webpages at www.wwf.org.uk/core/takeaction/ rethink.asp
For information on the methodology and footprinting
Please visit : The Reducing Wales’ Ecological Footprint project website at www.walesfootprint.org and the work of Stockholm Environment Institute at: www.york.ac.uk/inst/sei/IS/ sustain.html or for an international perspective visit Redeﬁning Progress www.rprogress.org/ or the Global Footprint Network www.footprintnetwork.org/
CARDIFF’S ecological footprint
For help with your organisation’s ecological impact
To ﬁnd out how your business, organisation or ofﬁce can address its footprint please visit the following websites: www.arenanetwork.org/ www.greenchoices.org/ofﬁce.html www.envirowise.gov.uk/
For more information on the Cardiff Footprint Project please contact:
Sustainable Development Unit Strategic Planning Cardiff Council County Hall Cardiff, CF10 4UW United Kingdom email: email@example.com telephone: 029 2087 3234/3228 www.cardiff.gov.uk/sustainabledevelopment Dr. Andrea Collins & Dr. Andrew Flynn BRASS Research Centre Cardiff University 55 Park Place Cardiff, CF10 3AT United Kingdom email: CollinsA@Cardiff.ac.uk FlynnAC@Cardiff.ac.uk telephone: 029 2087 6552 www.brass.cf.ac.uk