8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Material Footprint of Local Business

Brian Dille

Cohort 2020-2021


You are a part of a global effort to increase access to education and empower students through “open pedagogy.”  Open pedagogy is a “free access” educational practice that places you – the student – at the center of your own learning process in a more engaging, collaborative learning environment.  The ultimate purpose of this effort is to achieve greater social justice in our community in which the work can be freely shared with the broader community.  This is a renewable assignment that is designed to enable you to become an agent of change in your community through the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  For this work, you will integrate the disciplines of Political Science to achieve SDG #08: Decent Work and Economic Growth  4

Learning Objectives

Evaluate costs and policy implications of material footprint.


Part of the effort to “decouple” economic activity from environmental impact is to reduce or even eliminate the carbon or material footprint of a business or activity. Carbon footprint is relatively easy to determine by measuring the energy required to produce or good or service or engage in an activity, then compare that with the carbon cost to produce that energy locally. But what does “material footprint” mean? This is a larger measure of the inputs required to make a good or service or engage in an activity. These include not just energy, but raw materials, human labor, even the opportunity cost of the space being used.


Assignment: Assess the material footprint of a local business. List all of the input costs for the main product or service marketed by the business. Identify any way to reduce the material cost by increased efficiencies or replacing inputs with less costly substitutes (in material terms). Conclude with a discussion of whether any of the costs associated with the material footprint are uncaptured externalities, and any policy implications your findings suggest.

Format Requirements

Rubric – 50pts

List of the material costs of inputs – 15 pts

The list is comprehensive and well-sourced. – 15

The list is partial or not well-sourced -10

The list is both partial and not well-sourced.-5

Proposal to reduce material cost of inputs – 15 pts

Plan is viable – 15

Plan is possible – 10

Plan relies on rainbows and unicorns – 5

Externality Policy Plan – 15 pts

Rich description, erudite analysis – 15

Basic description, some analysis – 10

Poor description, no analysis – 5

Professionalism – 5 pts

Citations provided and few typos – 5

No citations or lots of typos – 3

This is truly embarrassing – 0  



Material Footprint of Local Business is licensed by Brian Dille, Maricopa Community Colleges under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY)



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Material Footprint of Local Business by Brian Dille is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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