MEPS 530:271-279 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11278

Eco2: a simple index of economic-ecological deficits

U. Rashid Sumaila1,*, Ngaio Hotte1, Alessandro Galli2, Vicky W. Y. Lam1, Andrés M. Cisneros-Montemayor1, Mathis Wackernagel3

1Fisheries Economics Research Unit, University of British Columbia, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
2Global Footprint Network, International Environment House 2, 7-9 Chemins de Balexert, 1219 Geneva, Switzerland
3Research and Standards Department, 312 Clark Street, 3rd floor, Global Footprint Network, Oakland, CA 94607-3510, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: We present the first joint analysis of the ecological-financial deficits of nations and develop a simple index, the Eco2 index, which is useful in ranking the combined ecological and financial performance of countries. This index includes information on ecological and financial deficits, trade surplus and gross domestic product (GDP) to evaluate the potential impacts of ecological deficits on the overall economic performance of countries. Results show an ongoing trend towards increased ecological deficits, as natural resources are ‘traded’ for financial gain. We argue that countries cannot run large financial deficits forever without negative economic consequences and that globally, it is likewise impossible to ignore our global ecological deficit in the long run. Ecological deficits can only be temporarily and partially addressed by incurring financial costs through imports, bounded by available resource surpluses of other nations and the fact that some of these services are place-specific. Ultimately, ecological deficits jeopardize ecosystem functions, energy sources and the food security of nations, with direct implications for human well-being.


KEY WORDS: Global analysis · Economic · Ecological · Financial · Deficit


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Cite this article as: Sumaila UR, Hotte N, Galli A, Lam VWY, Cisneros-Montemayor AM, Wackernagel M (2015) Eco2: a simple index of economic-ecological deficits. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 530:271-279. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11278

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