Environmental Footprints and IO Analysis (PHYS5033)


This unit of study will provide students with both the theoretical understanding and the practical skills needed to carry out their own environmental footprint and impact analyses. This unit uses state of the art economic input-output theory and input-output analysis, and focuses on contemporary environmental applications such as carbon footprints and life-cycle assessment. The unit first explores national and global economic and environmental accounting systems and their relationships to organisational accounting. Second, it will present cutting-edge techniques enabling the global analysis of environmental impacts of international trade. Third, it offers hands-on instruction to master the basic input-output calculus conceived by Nobel Prize Laureate Wassily Leontief, and provide a step-by-step recipe for how to undertake boundary-free environmental footprinting by integrating economic and environmental accounts, and by applying Leontief's calculus to data published by statistical offices. Students will walk away from this unit equipped with all skills needed to calculate footprints, and prepare sustainability reports for any organisation, city, region, or nation, using organisational data, economic input-output tables and environmental accounts. Students will also benefit from also enrolling in PHYS5034 for a sound understanding of the role of input-output analysis within the field of Life-Cycle Assessment.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


2-hour lecture interspersed with hands-on exercises per week


Comprehensive diary/notes from lectures, including a quantitative example (100%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Additional Information

Minimum class size of 5 students.

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.