Mathis Wackernagel is a Swiss-born sustainability advocate. He is President of Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability think tank with offices in Oakland, California; Brussels, Belgium, and Geneva, Switzerland. The think-tank is a non-profit that focuses on developing and promoting metrics for sustainability.
After earning a degree in mechanical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, he completed his Ph.D. in community and regional planning at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada in 1994. There, as his doctoral dissertation under Professor William Rees, he created with Professor Rees the ecological footprint concept and developed the methodology. He has worked on sustainability issues for organizations in Europe, Latin America, North America, Asia and Australia. Wackernagel previously served as the director of the Sustainability Program at Redefining Progress in Oakland, California (1999 – 2003), and directed the Centre for Sustainability Studies / Centro de Estudios para la Sustentabilidad in Mexico (1995-2001). In 2004, he was also an adjunct faculty at SAGE of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In 2010, he was appointed Frank H. T. Rhodes Class of 1956 Visiting Professor at Cornell University (1 July 2011 – 30 June 2013).
Wackernagel has said that “Overshoot will ultimately liquidate the planet’s ecological assets.”