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Eco-efficiency: More with less

'Eco-efficiency', a term coined by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development in 1992, combines economy and ecology.

The planet has a limit to how much human life and associated consumption it can accommodate. This is 'carrying capacity'; a negotiation between human consumption and the rate of ecological regeneration.

Humanity's ecological footprint – a calculation of the world population's overall impact on the natural environment – tells us how much of the planet we need to support our diverse lifestyles. Unsurprisingly, developed nations have a significantly larger ecological footprint per capita than less-developed countries.

Eco-efficiency tries to reconcile carrying capacity with human environmental impact. The challenge is to use fewer resources to produce more goods and services while at the same time reducing society's negative effects on the environment. Essentially, it's the capability to creat more with less.

Cities, which are epicentres of human growth and consumption, must become models of eco-efficiency by innovating solutions to wastage, excess and inefficiency.