Sustainability Evaluation of the European Union based on the Ecological Footprint

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Abstract

Recent production and consumption activities impose a heavy burden on the Earth's current and future capacity. Therefore, it is inevitable to deal with the impacts of the economic activities on the natural resources which determine our future well-being and the survival by itself. The indicators reflecting impacts of regions and countries on the available resources are used in this Paper to operationalize the sustainable development concept. The Ecological Footprint, Total Biocapacity and their components are investigated in the European Union (EU) and its countries and the EU region is compared with the other regions of the world. The additional three developed countries – Norway, Switzerland and the United States (US), were included in the sample together with the EU countries to enable extended comparisons. The aim of the Paper is to evaluate sustainability in the EU and its countries by means of the Ecological Footprint and the available biocapacity and to detect the relations between the countries’ EF and their standard of living and human development level. Concerning the regions, the highest Ecological Footprint per capita is typical of North America followed by the EU region. The Northern countries show largest biocapacities and are thus the largest resource creditors. The worst results in the Ecological Footprint – biocapacity relations analysis are typical of Cyprus, Belgium, Netherlands and Italy. The cross-section regression models confirmed that, at least, in the sample of the developed countries the positive relations between the Ecological Footprint on the one hand and the standard of living / state of the human development on the other hand exist.

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Acta Universitatis Bohemiae Meridionalis

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