The Earth Commission’s first study quantifying Safe and Just Earth System Boundaries, published in Nature, shows there is no safe planet without justice.

Most of the Safe and Just Earth System Boundaries boundaries, on a global and local scale, are already transgressed. This means that unless a timely transformation occurs, it is most likely that irreversible tipping points and widespread impacts on human well being will be unavoidable. The findings underscore the urgent need for integrated action across all Earth’s vital systems, the injustice inherent in current world targets, and the need for just transformations.


A new chapter in sustainability thinking:

The Safe and Just Earth System Boundaries provide a scientific underpinning for safeguarding the global commons for all people now and into the future.

They give businesses, governments and civil society the best scientific data yet on what it means to live within the boundaries of the planet. And, for the first time, these boundaries put human needs at the centre, quantifying the conditions needed to achieve an equitable and just transition.

In the short term, the boundaries provide businesses with a chance to stay ahead of regulatory scrutiny, and meet the expectations of an increasingly conscious consumer and stakeholder base. In the long-term, they will enable them, and others, to protect the communities, economies and natural resources upon which their operations depend.

The Safe and Just Earth System Boundaries science is aligned with the recently released Science-based Targets for Nature, which build on existing science-based targets for climate, enabling companies to take holistic action on climate and nature in the face of mounting environmental and social crises.  ​​

Learn more with these resources

Find detailed explainers on each of the Earth System Boundaries below:

Climate | Biodiversity | Freshwater | Fertilizers | Aerosols

Read the business audience press release here.

Read the science press release here.

Read the manuscript itself here.

Access graphic images and animations here

View supporting quotes here.

The Earth Commission, hosted by Future Earth

Find more Earth Commission authored papers on the Earth Commission website, including more information the Commissioners themselves.

The Earth Commission has another related paper, currently in peer review, which will look more closely at the inter- and intra-generational and inter-species justice aspects of the Earth System Boundaries. That paper will also goes further into the access to resources needed for a dignified life and the just transformations we need to get within the safe and just space. Watch this space for updates!