Giving legs to handprint thinking : foundations for evaluating the good we do

Tutkimustuotos: Lehtiartikkelivertaisarvioitu



  • Australian National University
  • Stockholm University
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
  • Humboldt University of Berlin
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
  • Luke Natural Resources Institute Finland
  • International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis


In environmental management and sustainability there is an increasing interest in measurement and accounting of beneficial impact – as an incentive to action, as a communication tool, and to move towards a positive, constructive approach focused on opportunities rather than problems. One approach uses the metaphor of a “handprint”, complementing the notion of environmental footprints, which have been widely adopted for impact measurement and accounting. We analyse this idea by establishing core principles of handprint thinking: handprint encourages actions with positive impacts, connects to analyses of footprint reductions, but adds value to them, and addresses the issue of what action should be taken. We also identify five key questions that need to be addressed and decisions that need to be made in performing a (potentially quantitative) handprint assessment, related to scoping of the improvement to be made, how it is achieved, and how credit is assigned, taking into account constraints on action. A case study of the potential water footprint reduction of an average Finn demonstrates how handprint thinking can be a natural extension of footprint reduction analyses. We find that there is a diversity of possible handprint assessments that have the potential to encourage doing good. Their common foundation is “handprint thinking”.


JulkaisuEarth's Future
TilaSähköinen julkaisu (e-pub) ennen painettua julkistusta - 2020
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Julkaistu artikkeli, soviteltu

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