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Earth Overshoot Day – how we can save nature’s budget

Lockdowns around the world in 2020 reduced carbon emissions from road users and manufacturing plants, and, combined with other environmental factors, allowed our planet to breathe a little easier.

The result was that Earth Overshoot Day, the day when we have essentially spent nature’s annual budget, was pushed back almost a month to 22 August.

In 2021, with many businesses and workers able to resume previous levels of activity, Earth Overshoot Day returned to 29 July, the same date it was in 2019, and the earliest it has ever been. Until this year. In 2022, Earth Overshot Day falls a day even earlier on 28 July.

Tell me more about Earth Overshoot Day?

You know when you’re still more than a week away from pay day and you’ve just seen your bank balance slip below zero with bills left to pay and shopping to buy? That’s your overshoot day. For the rest of the month, you will have to rely on the bank, friends or family. But it isn’t so simple for Earth.

At the current rate, we are using up nature’s resources 1.75 times faster than the ecosystems can keep up with. In fact, according to figures from the Global Footprint Network, the UK is using up the budget 2.7 times faster.

The unique circumstances of last year helped to push it back almost four weeks. But what does the future hold?

Calculations suggest that if we were able to cut CO2 emissions globally by around 50%, Earth Overshoot Day could be pushed back up to three months.

So, how can I help? 

This is a global issue and will seem overwhelming for an individual business. But as the saying goes, the longest journey starts with a single step. If we each play our own part, together we will make a difference.


Social media: Help raise awareness by joining the online conversation using #MoveTheDate. Talk about the changes you have made to help other businesses see what is possible.


Talk to us: Are you a Scottish small or medium-sized business that wants to make practical changes? No matter whether you are just starting out on your energy-saving journey and need some pointers or are looking for expertise and funding to support your current plans, our team of experienced business advisors and energy-saving consultants are here to help. We can show you where you can make carbon savings and cut your energy bills. We can also help you access an interest-free loan to pay for improvements.


Get your colleagues onboard: You can do a lot to reduce your organisation’s environmental impact by changing equipment and processes. However, to bring about and maximise improvements for lasting benefit, it’s vital to get your colleagues on board with your energy efficiency initiatives. Our free staff engagement toolkit gives you step-by-step actions for motivating staff in your business. It contains links to all the free resources in our staff engagement toolkit, including posters, stickers, staff training presentations and quizzes.

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