It’s Earth Overshoot Day what this means and how your organisation can help. 

2023’s Earth Overshoot Day falls on Wednesday 2nd August. Let’s look at what this means, how the date compares to previous years, and what your organisation can do to help the planet.

What is Earth Overshoot Day?

August 2nd 2023 marks Earth Overshoot Day, the date when humanity’s demand for resources exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. 

The date of Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by first understanding the planets biocapacity – the amount of ecological resources the Earth is able to generate a year including forest lands, grazing and pasture lands, croplands, fisheries and built-up land.  

This is then divided by humanity’s ecological footprint – the population’s demand for the year, including animal products, plant-based products such as fibres and food, land used for the built environment, forest products including timber, plus forests themselves for their absorption of carbon dioxide emissions.    

Graph showing the date of Earth Overshoot day from 1 Earth in 1971, to 1.7 Earths in 2023. The trend flattens out in the last 10 years,

If a population’s demand exceeds the supply, that region runs an ecological deficit or overshoot. From Earth Overshoot Day until the end of the year, we will be operating on an ecological deficit.  

Whilst the date of Earth Overshoot Day has come forward by 5 days this year, this actually only equates to an improvement of less than one day, as much of this is due to improvements in data. 

There is still lots to do. 

The Power of Possibility

The climate and ecological crisis requires a joined up effort from companies, cities and countries alike to be deployed at scale for us to reduce our ecological footprint and #Movethe Date of Earth Overshoot Day back. 

The good news is that many of these solutions already exist. 

Each year, the Power of Possibility highlights ways we can improve resource security across 5 key areas: Energy, Cities, Food, Planet and Population. The most impactful are shown below. 

Chart showing how we can improve our resource security in five key areas (healthy planet, cities, energy, food, population). The highest proportion of improvements is the energy category.

What organisations can do

There are plenty of small (and large) changes that organisations can do to help #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day significantly. For example, a reduction of food waste by half would gain 13 days, and global shift from 39% to 75% low-carbon electricity sources would gain 26 days.  

At Energise, our consultants work closely with customers to provide a range of tailored carbon and environmental solutions, to meet organisations at any stage of their sustainability journey. For example, the Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) is a fantastic chance to assess your energy consumption and improve efficiency across your operations. For further information, read 5 benefits to complying with ESOS Phase 3 early.  

ESOS can often be a great first step to Net Zero, but if you’re interested in continuing your journey, why not consider a Net Zero Strategy? We can assist in reviewing your emissions, modelling scenarios, identifying opportunities, and producing a Net Zero Strategy with science-based targets at its core. 

Earth Overshoot Day provides the annual reminder of the need for continued progress, as well as reflecting on the Power of Possibility and opportunity for change. 

Ready to get started?

For support on your sustainability journey, or to simply find out more, book a free Net Zero Discovery call by clicking here, or get in touch with our expert team at gonetzero@energise.com

Written By    Kesi Courtman

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2023’s Earth Overshoot Day falls on Wednesday 2nd August. In this blog, we look at what this means, the annual data trends and what organisations can do to help the planet.