The 10 principles of One Planet Living

One Planet Living uses ecological footprinting as its key indicator of sustainability.
However, One Planet Living also promotes the idea that living sustainably should mean a better quality of life.

We need to find sustainable ways to meet the basket of human needs: things like food, clothing, housing, energy, health, education, mobility, and leisure.

That is why One Planet Living is also a set of unique principles of sustainability.

These are social, environmental and economic indicators which come together to form a holistic approach to sustainability.

WWF and our partners apply both ecological footprinting, and the 10 principles below, in projects which demonstrate One Planet Living into action.
GLOBAL CHALLENGE OPL PRINCIPLE OPL GOAL and STRATEGY
Climate change due to human-induced build up of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere Zero Carbon Achieve net CO2 emissions of zero
Implement energy efficiency in buildings and infrastructure; supply energy from on-site renewable sources, topped up by new off-site renewable supply where necessary.
Waste from discarded products and packaging create a huge disposal challenge while squandering valuable resources Zero Waste Eliminate waste flows to landfill and for incineration
Reduce waste generation through improved design; encourage re-use, recycling and composting; generate energy from waste cleanly; eliminate the concept of waste as part of a resource-efficient society.
Travel by car and airplane can cause climate change, air & noise pollution, and congestion Sustainable Transport Reduce reliance on private vehicles and achieve major reductions of CO2 emissions from transport
Invest in transport systems and infrastructure that reduce dependence on fossil fuel use, e.g., by cars and airplanes. Neutralise carbon emissions from unavoidable air travel and car travel.
Destructive patterns of resource exploitation and use of non-local materials in construction and manufacture increase environmental harm and reduce gains to the local economy Local and Sustainable Materials Transform materials supply to the point where it has a net positive impact on the environment and local economy
Where possible, use local, reclaimed, renewable and recycled materials in construction and products, which minimises transport emissions, spurs investment in local natural resource stocks and boosts the local economy.
Industrial agriculture produces food of uncertain quality and harms local ecosystems, while consumption of non-local food imposes high transport impacts Local and Sustainable Food Transform food supply to the point where it has a net positive impact on the environment, local economy and peoples' well-being
Support local and low impact food production that provides healthy, quality food while boosting the local economy in an environmentally beneficial manner; promote low-impact packaging, processing and disposal; and benefits of a low-impact diet.
Local supplies of freshwater are often insufficient to meet human needs due to pollution, disruption of hydrological cycles and depletion of existing stocks Sustainable Water Achieve a positive impact on local water resources and supply
Implement water use efficiency measures, re-use and recycling; minimise water extraction and pollution; foster sustainable water and sewage management in the landscape; restore natural water cycles.
Loss of biodiversity and habitats due to development in natural areas and overexploitation of natural resources Natural Habitats and Wildlife Regenerate degraded environments and halt biodiversity loss
Protect or regenerate existing natural environments and the habitats they provide to fauna and flora; create new habitats.
Local cultural heritage is being lost throughout the world due to globalisation, resulting in a loss of local identity and wisdom Culture and Heritage Protect and build on local cultural heritage and diversity
Celebrate and revive cultural heritage and the sense of local and regional identity; choose structures and systems that build on this heritage; foster a new culture of sustainability.
Some in the industrialised world live in relative poverty, while many in the developing world cannot meet their basic needs from what they produce or sell Equity and Fair Trade Ensure that a community's impact on other communities is positive
Promote equity and fair trading relationships to ensure a community has a beneficial impact on other communities both locally and globally, notably disadvantaged communities.
Rising wealth and greater health and happiness increasingly diverge, raising questions about the true basis of well-being and contentment Health and Happiness Increase health and quality of life of community members and others
Promote healthy lifestyles and physical, mental & spiritual well-being through well-designed structures and community engagement measures, as well as by delivering on social and environmental targets.

Our biggest challenge this new century is to take an idea that seems abstract – sustainable development – and turn it into a reality for all the world’s people.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 2001

  • 10 OPL principles / ©: WWF / bioregional

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