The Environmental Challenge
A sustainable future will need to consider environmental, social and economic factors and the 10 One Planet principles and their associated Common International Targets have been developed in recognition of this. However, BioRegional subscribes to the view that society or the economy cannot exist long term outside of a healthy environment and consequently there are three overarching environmental drivers behind the One Planet initiative:
1. Sustainable Ecological Footprint
Ecological footprinting measures our consumption of natural resources in global hectares of land and sea. Research tells us that our global footprint now exceeds the world’s capacity to regenerate by about 50%. If our demands on the planet continue at the same rate, by 2030 we will need the equivalent of two planets to maintain our lifestyles.
One Planet Communities make it easy, attractive and affordable for their residents to live within a fair share of the earth’s resources which, according to current calculations, will be no more than 1.2gha by 2020.
The graph below shows the trajectory for the global ecological footprint if we continue to consume at current levels in comparison to a rapid reduction in footprint to the One Planet level in 2020.
This global trajectory, however, masks the fact that the goal of achieving a One Planet level of consumption will require trajectories which vary greatly depending on the country that the community is based in. For example, in the USA the average footprint is currently 8.0 gha/ cap whereas in China it is only 2.2 gha/ cap. Furthermore, average footprints themselves mask great differences within a country. For example in China the footprint in urban areas is close to the European average of 4.7 gha/ cap but in rural areas it may be lower than 2.0 gha per person.
One Planet Communities aim to follow country specific trajectories agreed with BioRegional, which take into acocunt differences between and within countries.
 Global Footprint Network, WWF & Zoological Society of London (2010). Living Planet Report.
 Based on a population of 7.67 billion, a biocapacity of 1.6gha per person and allowing 20% space for wildlife
2. Sustainable carbon footprint
The One Planet initiative uses ‘consumption-based’ carbon footprinting to inform a holistic picture of what causes our greenhouse gas emissions and the most appropriate strategies for reducing them. Consumption based emissions are those that arise all the way through the supply chain. These include not just ‘direct emissions’ caused by fuel and energy consumption, but also embodied emissions in goods and services purchased including food, manufactured items and construction materials.
Climate science tell us that in order to avoid runaway climate change, global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by 50% from 1990 levels, by 2050. In order for this to happen CO2 emissions will have to be no more than 1 tonne per person per annum. What is more, we know that emissions are building up cumulatively in the atmosphere which leads to the use of a carbon budget over time. Carbon budgeting shows us that the faster emissions cuts can be made the greater chance there is of stabilising atmospheric concentrations. This means we have to create communities as fast as possible that are powered by renewable technologies and are not locked into ongoing fossil fuel use.
In line with this, the One Planet initiative adopts the principle of Contraction and Convergence which means that countries with high per capita emissions will have to reduce their emissions much more rapidly than countries that currently have low per capita emissions. The end result being that per capita emissions from each country will converge at a more equitable level and the global total of emissions will contract.
BioRegional will work with partners to agree community specific trajectories. For example, for communities in developing countries a suitable trajectory will have to take into account whether the development is targeted at residents with high impact lifestyles or very low income residents with very low carbon emissions.
 Based on work done by both the Tyndall Centre, University of Manchester on UK carbon budgets and Meinshausen et al on the global budget.
3. Clean (non-polluting) activities
Each One Planet Community has an ongoing and evolving strategy for avoiding any pollution to air, land or water as a result of activities associated with the community. Energy generation equipment, construction or refurbishment activities, transport vehicles, domestic and non-domestic activities all aim to meet international best practice on pollution prevention. Purchasing systems for materials, equipment, goods or food should check for upstream pollution impacts and choose suppliers with strong environmental track records supporting the emergence of a green supply chain.