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Global overshoot day is here earlier than ever – how can we move the date?

On the 29 of July, we have used the amount of resources that our planet can create or renew in one year. For the rest of the year we live on credit. The overshoot consists not only of ecological resources, but also accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Approximately 60% of the overshoot comes from carbon dioxide emissions.

The clean #energy company #Fortum wants to highlight initiatives and benchmarks that can significantly lower the carbon footprint. It is about change on an individual level, it is about a societal change that is driven by innovation, but most of all it is a joint effort to #movethedate.

For the overshoot day, Fortum focuses on the carbon footprint which is 60% of the global ecological footprint. According to The International Energy Agency, electricity and heat, transport, industry and buildings sectors are responsible for the vast majority of the carbon footprint. In addition, circular economy will have a key role in closing the sustainability gap that we face. The rest consists of areal required to produce and renew the natural resources we consume.

‘With the global overshoot day annually moving in the wrong direction, we have to focus on the largest sectors and decarbonise what we can in a short period of time – the good news is that the technologies already exist in many areas. By doing this, we can buy time for the more challenging sectors,’ said Kati Suurmunne, vice president, Group Communications at Fortum.

In many areas, a changed consumer behaviour will have a big impact, in others the most effective changes are on a societal level. In most cases, there has to be an infrastructure in place that supports consumers´ sustainable choices. Circular economy is one such societal change with huge potential, none the least for plastics. Plastic is a material that simultaneously creates both sustainable challenges and solutions, but what is for sure is that a lack of waste management has potentially disastrous consequences.

A key area to mitigate climate change and to push the overshoot forward is the energy sector. A whopping 33 days of the overshoots 155 days can be attributed to electricity and heating; that’s more than a third of the overshoot that is attributed to carbon dioxide emissions. The pace of the decarbonisation needs to increase, especially since many of the solutions in other areas rely on electrification. The most effective way to curb the emissions is to put a price on them, and as with the economy as a whole there has to be a global approach. That will also make it possible to put a price on manufactured goods, based on their ecological footprint, in such a way that it gives the consumer the ability to consume wisely.  

At, Fortum presents examples from all the sectors that are directly attributed to carbon dioxide emissions, from innovative ways to produce textile fibres from bamboo residues to electric autonomous heavy transports, that can accomplish substantial change. The ambition is to, over time, continue to highlight more innovations and solutions that will help move the date. As there are challenges in all sectors, Fortum also want to acknowledge initiatives and innovation being done by others. After all, it is a joint effort to move the date and so is the invitation to join the change.

‘The ambition is to create a better understanding on what it is that affects the overshoot, but also to show how innovation and technological development put in use can increase resource efficiency and decrease carbon dioxide emissions, thus creating more sustainable alternatives,’ added Kati.  


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