Achieving sustainability in Wales is high on the current governmental agenda. In order to assess whether Welsh society is any closer to achieving sustainability, the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) have identified a series of indicators that will be used to monitor their progress.1 Included in this list is the Ecological Footprint, the focus of this very study, making the Welsh Assembly Government the first administration in the world to use the Ecological Footprint indicator as a tool to measure real progress.
The eight chapters that make up this report have looked, in detail, at some of the various policies and targets that have been established by WAG across the different sectors of society in an attempt to achieve sustainability. By applying the Ecological Footprint, along with other indicators, we have been able to quantify the materials and resources which have been consumed within Wales, along with their associated wastes, and have answered one main question: Is Wales currently sustainable? Following this we go on to explore whether current policies and strategies will, in the future, bring Wales any closer to achieving this sustainability goal.
However, the Ecological Footprint only takes into account one of the many dimensions, which comprise sustainable development – ecological sustainability. Other dimensions such as quality of life are as important as ecological needs, in fact they are all inextricably linked. However, for the purpose of this study we have isolated the ecological aspect and explored it with the use of the Ecological Footprint to provide you with an in depth analysis of the potential of the Ecological Footprint as a sustainability indicator.