Both poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability are two important factors to achieve sustainable development targets. Previous studies have considered the causal relationship between poverty and carbon emission, however, the nexus between poverty and ecological footprint needs to be investigated. Considering this situation, the study aims to explore the causal linkage between poverty and environmental degradation by employing data from 2010 to 2016 for the 46 Sub-Saharan African countries. The ecological footprint is used as a measure of environmental degradation in the current study. The empirical results obtained from the panel data regression estimator recommend that there exists a causal relationship between poverty and ecological footprint. Moreover, economic growth and easy availability of electricity reduce poverty, but both have a detrimental effect on the ecological footprint. Finally, important policy implications are proposed based on empirical results. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.