The world lives in ecological debt borrowing from tomorrow

Posted on 28 Jul 2022
This year's Earth Overshoot Day falls today, 28th July, once again earlier than the previous year.

Earth Overshoot Day has a clear message: time is running out, and we must change our approach now. The way we produce, distribute and consume food forms a significant part of our ecological footprint. WWF Central and Eastern Europe network launches a new campaign to raise awareness for sustainable food and cooking.

A change in approach can help us shift The Earth Overshoot Day

Today, 28th July 2022, is the Earth Overshoot Day, when humanity’s demand for natural resources and services exceeds what Earth can regenerate within the year. The trend is inexorable – since the day of the exhaustion of the planet's natural capacity was known, it has been coming earlier and earlier in the year. Currently, it occurs in July, which means that by the middle of the year humanity will have consumed more natural resources than the planet can renew for the rest of the year.

On the occasion of the publication of Earth Overshoot Day, the Global Footprint Network states that "the greatest potential for large-scale change lies with governments and businesses when they align their policies and strategies with the possibilities of the planet". The platform also gives examples of how the Day when we start living in ecological debt can be moved. Above all, an ambitious reduction of CO2 emissions and the implementation of projects for protection and restoration of forests, oceans, rivers, and wetlands is necessary, and so is a change in food consumption habits.

Our current food system is unsustainable. We need to feed the world’s growing population but our current practices are already harming nature and fuelling climate change, being responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, and 60% of biodiversity loss with 70% of freshwater being taken from rivers and lakes.

Good for You, Good for the Planet platform

While producers, suppliers, retailers, and policy-makers have the responsibility to build a sustainable and secure supply, every single person can become part of the change by making sure that a sustainable demand is also developing. That is why WWF is starting the "Good for You, Good for the Planet" campaign to guide people towards a healthier life and a healthier planet as well. For this purpose the organization has developed six simple tips for a sustainable diet:

  • Eat more plants
  • Vary your diet
  • Waste less food
  • Moderate your meat consumption
  • Eat certified foods
  • Eat less fat, sugar, and salt

Each one of these six simple tips for sustainable life which we promote is equally important and brings a positive change. Adopting a Planet-based diet can reduce food-based greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30%, wildlife loss by up to 46%, agriculture land-use by at least 41% and premature deaths by at least 20%.

“We launch this platform with the long-term aim to raise awareness and also to inspire people to become conscious of their food choices every day. Our consumption of food and the way we cook and eat has a huge effect on the planet. By taking steps towards a more conscious and sustainable diet, we can all contribute to a better food system and reduce the negative effects of climate change.” Péter Baráth, WWF CEE, Marketing and partnerships director.

Learn more about the tips and visit the campaign central site here.

The effect of food waste

According to the WWF and Tesco report, up to 1.2 billion tons of food a year end up as waste directly on farms, compared to 931 million tons that end up in retail stores and consumers. The report points out that food waste is responsible not only for emissions, but also for the water consumption equal to 304 million Olympic swimming pools. To produce it we need land larger than the entire Indian subcontinent. If we were to halve the amount of food that is wasted the Earth Overshoot Day would be shifted by 13 days. If we were to cut meat consumption in half globally and replace it with plant-based food, we would shift it by 17 days.

WWF and Tesco working in partnership for sustainable food choices

WWF has joined forces with TESCO in Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic with the common ambition to move towards more sustainable consumption and production. Our long-term goal is supporting a shift to sustainable everyday shopping choices in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. Our partnership will help drive demand for sustainable choices all the way from farm to fork by raising awareness and encouraging change.


Contact details:
Péter Baráth, Regional Director of Marketing and Partnerships,, +36 70 9538035

Notes to editor
The Tesco-WWF Partnership in the Central European region is focusing on three key areas:

  • Raising awareness amongst Tesco staff of the role they can play to reduce the impact of corporate operations on the environment and nature
  • Stimulating customer interest in, and awareness of sustainable food choices that they can make every day
  • Working together with suppliers and partners to raise awareness of best practices in sustainable production and ensure affordable choices for shoppers.

Learn more about the collaboration here.