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DATE: February 27, 2003
CONTACT: Michel Gelobter (510-444-3041)


OAKLAND, Calif.—The Pacific Industrial and Business Association (PIBA) awarded its 2003 Sustainability Award to Redefining Progress Sustainability Program Director Mathis Wackernagel. PIBA presented the award to Wackernagel during a ceremony held at the organization's Silicon Valley Conference in Foster City, Calif.

"I'm honored by the award, and thrilled in particular that it's coming from a business association that is taking the bold step of recognizing global limits," said Wackernagel. "It gives me hope to see more and more people recognizing that we need to live within the limits of the planet in order to secure not only our livelihoods, but also a positive business climate in the future."

Julie Weiss of the City of Palo Alto presented the Sustainability Award on PIBA's behalf. "Mathis was chosen for this award," Weiss said, "based on his brilliant work, his tireless efforts to advance and develop important diagnostic tools for sustainability, his success in broadcasting his message to a wide audience, and his proven record for mentoring and inspiring people and groups around the world."

PIBA's awards program honors "individuals within the Greater Bay Area who have contributed, beyond their job requirements, to the growth and excellence of environmental, health & safety, and sustainability practices." The Sustainability Award focuses "on the leadership and initiative of an individual to implement and advance sustainable development practices and processes in an organization, a sector, or within the community."

Wackernagel is the co-creator of the Ecological Footprint concept. Ecological Footprint accounts provide a conservative estimate of humanity's pressure on global ecosystems. They represent the biologically productive area required to produce the food and wood people consume, to supply space for infrastructure, and to absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide emitted from burning fossil fuels.

Research by Wackernagel and his program team reveals that humanity's Ecological Footprint has exceeded the regenerative capacity of the Earth since the 1980s. The latest results conclude that humanity's Ecological Footprint now exceeds the planet's biological capacity by 20 percent.

"Three years ago we wouldn't have believed that businesses would come and work with us on applying our Ecological Footprint thinking to their businesses," added Redefining Progress Executive Director Michel Gelobter. "Now we have more projects than we can handle, and are learning every day new ways to help make a business case for sustainability. We're thrilled for our sustainability program director to be recognized for his cutting-edge work."