1st Edition

Factor Five Transforming the Global Economy through 80% Improvements in Resource Productivity

    432 Pages
    by Routledge

    432 Pages
    by Routledge

    When first published in 1997, Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use by renowned economic and engineering experts Ernst von Weizsäcker, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins, transformed how economists, policy makers, engineers, entrepreneurs and business leaders thought about innovation and wealth creation. Through examples from a wide range of industrial sectors, the authors demonstrated how technical innovation could cut resource use in half while doubling wealth. Now twelve years on, with climate change at the top of the world agenda and the new economic giants of China and India needing ever more resources, there is a unique historic opportunity to scale up resources productivity and radically transform the global economy. And Factor Five is the book set to change all of this. Picking up where Factor Four left off, this new book examines the past 15 years of innovation in industry, technical innovation and policy. It shows how and where factor four gains have been made and how we can achieve greater factor five or 80%+ improvements in resource and energy productivity and how to roll them out on a global scale to retool our economic system, massively boost wealth for billions of people around the world and help solve the climate change crises. Spanning dozens of countries including China and India and examining innumerable cases of innovation in design, technology and policy, the authors leave no engineering and economic stone unturned in their quest for excellence. The book tackles sustainable development and climate change by providing in depth Factor 5 resource productivity studies of the following sectors: Buildings, Industry, Agriculture, Food and Hospitality, and Transportation. In its systematic approach to demonstrating how Factor 5 can be achieved, the book also provides an overview of energy/water nexus and energy/materials nexus efficiency opportunities across these sectors. Given that these sectors are responsible for virtually all energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions globally, this book is designed to guide everyone from individual households, businesses, industry sector groups to national governments in their efforts to achieve the IPCC recommended target of 80 per cent reductions to greenhouse gas emissions. It also looks at innovation in regulation to increase resource productivity, pricing, carbon trading, eco-taxation and permits and the role of international institutions and trade. The authors also explain exciting new concepts such as bio-mimicry and whole system design, as hallmarks for a new generation of technologies. The last part of the book explores transformative ideas such as a long term trajectory of gently rising energy and resource prices, and new concepts of well-being in a more equitable world. Like its predecessor this book is simply the most important work on the future of innovation, business, economics and policy and is top drawer reading for leaders across all sectors including business and industry, government, engineering and design and teaching. This book is full colour throughout. Published with The Natural Edge Project

    Introduction by Ernst von Weizsacker - Factor 5: A Global Imperative Part I: A Whole System Approach to Factor 5, by The Natural Edge Project Preface to the Sector Studies 1. A Framework for Factor 5 2. The Buildings Sector 3. The Heavy Industry Sector 4. The Agricultural Sector 5. The Transport Sector Part II: Making it Happen, by Ernst von Weizs cker 6. Regulation: The Visible Hand 7. Economic Instruments for the Environment, for Efficiency and for Renewable Energies 8. Addressing the Rebound Dilemma 9. A Long-Term Ecological Tax Reform 10. Balancing Public with Private Goods 11. Sufficiency in a Civilised World


    Professor Ernst von Weizsacker is Co-Chair, International Panel on Sustainable Resource Management. He is also the lead author of Factor Four (Earthscan 1998). Karlson Charlie Hargroves, Michael H. Smith, Peter Stasinopoulos and Cheryl Desha are members of The Natural Edge Project, a Sustainability Think-Tank hosted by Griffith University and the Australian National University.

    "As economic, environmental, and security imperatives converge, advanced resource productivity is quickly rising to the top of the global agenda. But let's make no little plans: new technologies, artfully combined via integrative design, can now quintuple the work wrung from energy, water, and other resources. Building on our 1997 collaboration in Factor Four, and cross-pollinating with new findings from around the world, this exciting synthesis combines a powerful efficiency toolkit with farsighted policy insights - vital to ensure that efficiency's gains are not offset but reinforced to create a richer, fairer, safer, and cooler world." – Amory B. Lovins, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute, USA, Co-Author of 'Factor Four'

    "This book shows once again, even to the most conservative critics, that not only are significant improvements possible, they are profitable, and when coupled with the understanding that reducing environmental devastation is critical, provide a vital message of hope for the future."Hunter Lovins, President, Natural Capitalism Solutions, Co-Author of 'Factor Four'

    "The fivefold increase of resource productivity described in this book is impressive, but perfectly feasible, and it would give the world a bit more time to learn how to adapt." – Dennis Meadows, Co-author Limits to Growth and 2009 Japan Prize Laureate

    "The exciting thing about Factor Five is the combination of boldness and realism, precisely what is needed to get civilization back onto an economic path that is environmentally sustainable." – Lester R. Brown, President, Earth Policy Institute

    "The potential to reduce emissions by 80% on an economically viable basis is good news for world leaders and their negotiators on climate change." – Dr R K Pachauri, Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

    "Factor Five is the clearest non-partisan handbook on ecological renaissance available to date and should be read by every policymaker and practitioner." – Professor Calestous Juma, Harvard Kennedy School

    "The arrival of Factor Five couldn't be more timely - or more significant."Jonathon Porritt, Founding Director, Forum for the Future, UK

    "The mounting concern about climate change has distracted attention from the fact that CO2 emissions are just part of the existential problem facing humanity. We need urgently to reduce our use of ALL the resources, not just fossil fuels. This new book is the best point of departure I know for doing that. The fivefold increase of resource productivity it describes is impressive, but perfectly feasible, and it would give the world a bit more time to learn how to adapt to ecological collapse. The book has two especially important innovations. The authors deal seriously with the rebound effect, and they base their scenarios on a long term trajectory of rising energy prices." – Dennis Meadows, Co-author Limits to Growth and 2009 Japan Prize Laureate

    "Is it possible to imagine a world where we can actually phase out fossil fuels before the climate phases us out? It's now feasible by reading Factor Five."Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University and author of Resilient Cities

    "[There can be] no sustainable development without a sustainable development of companies. Factor Five provides compelling arguments and examples that sustainable business is achievable and profitable on a large scale and that companies play a key role in creating sustainable development. Factor Five confirms the crucial role of increasing eco-efficiency to foster sustainable development."Stefan Schaltegger, Professor of Sustainability Management, Leuphana University, Germany

    "The world needs radical eco-innovation to shape an opportunity out of the current crisis. This book provides excellent key examples in a systems perspective. Written by radical thinkers with a unique experience on how change can be managed, this book is a must-reading for both leaders and academics." – Prof. Dr. Raimund Bleischwitz, Wuppertal Institute, Co-Director 'Material Flows and Resource Management' Professor at the College of Europe, Bruges/Belgium

    "Some may have ignored the message of Factor Four 15 years ago. We can no longer afford to ignore it, and should now embrace the strengthened message of Factor Five."Professor Bedrich Moldan, Senator, Czech Republic, Former Chairman, European Environment Agency, and former Czechoslovak Environment Minister

    "We are living in the most exciting era of human history. We are in the process of expanding our perspectives from a focus on short-term economic and materialistic growth to a whole-system approach with true, long-term happiness for all at its core. We are adding the need for 'sufficiency' to 'efficiency' and 'productivity' in our discussions on how to reduce human impacts on the Earth. Economy and ecology are not an 'either-or' trade-off. We now know that both are critical in every aspect of society. We must advance science and technology based on values and vision. The 'leapfrog' effect should be promoted in developing nations-not only in terms of technology but also in terms of lifestyles and societal values. Our urgent imperative is to figure out how to maximize happiness while minimizing environmental impacts. Factor Five provides the West and East alike with a compass to set our visions and to measure our progress."Junko Edahiro, Environmental Affairs Journalist, co-Chief Executive, Japan for Sustainability

    "Factor Five is the clearest non-partisan handbook on ecological renaissance available to date. It should be read by every policymaker and practitioner irrespective of their political position on global change." – Professor Calestous Juma, Harvard Kennedy School

    "We all know what will happen if we go on producing and consuming the same way as in the twentieth century. But we don't really know how to produce and consume in the planet-friendly way. This is why we need this book. So urgently."Brice Lalonde, French Climate Ambassador, former environment minister of France

    "Strong economic signals and innovative technologies make a powerful combination, and are the best hope - indeed, the only hope - of the changes needed to protect the environment. Building on the robust foundation of Factor Four, Ernst von Weizsacker and his colleagues write an inspiring manifesto for change to reduce resource use while minimising the impact on living conditions. If their recipe is sometimes over-optimistic, that is a good fault. The environment needs some optimistic friends these days."Frances Cairncross, Exeter College, Oxford (Author of Costing the Earth)

    "Climate change represents the biggest challenge our generation has experienced. Factor Five shows us through sustainable business practices we can achieve positive environmental and economic outcomes. They are not mutually exclusive concepts - sustainability is just good business."Dan Atkins, Managing Director, Shaper Group

    "Even if the climate were not changing, the need for the transition from fossil fuels to renewable, regenerative systems would be just as urgent. This is a recipe book for a far more economically rational world, as well as a more sustainable one."Professor Janis Birkeland, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and author of Positive Development

    "Every lawyer and lobbyist who is asked to defend 'Business As Usual' should read Factor Five. This manual for re-engineering the future holds out both hope and profit in equal parts - if only we can get the political framework right, and align the lobbies with the interests of humanity." – Tom Spencer, Former Member of the European Parliament, Founder and Executive Director of the European Centre for Public Affairs, and Vice Chairman, Institute for Environmental Security

    "Today, the world is faced by many challenges which all derive from the unsustainable practices with which we use our resources. Despite the most severe global economic crisis, resource prices have not returned to the low price levels of the 1990's, demonstrating that we have to reduce our 'resource obesity' as an economy and come to sustainable levels of resource consumption. A factor five improvement in resource efficiency is not only necessary, it is imperative for economies and companies to survive in a new resource and atmosphere-constrained world. This book not only clearly makes this point, but also shows that it is possible with what we know today. This key message makes this book essential reading." – Professor Ernst Worrell, Utrecht University, Lead Author, IPCC Working Group III, Fourth Assessment Report (2004 - 2007)

    "Factor Five is about how to achieve the resource productivity gains that are necessary for the world to avoid a future with declining human wellbeing. It provides a clear way forward. In the past, the pursuit of efficiency gains has sometimes led to loss of resilience, resulting in unexpected and unwanted outcomes (like salinized irrigation systems). I applaud the Factor Five initiative, and urge it to embrace the equally important goal of maintaining resilience in the face of the looming global shocks confronting the world." – Dr Brian Walker, CSIRO Research Fellow, Resilience Alliance Program Director and Chair of Board

    "Surely the ingenuity and creativity of human civilisation can rise above economic activity saddled with collateral damage? The opportunity to build new markets, new industries and new jobs while rebuilding ecosystem resilience is an exciting challenge. Are we up to the task of our future? Well, only if we act speedily. Read Factor Five and rejoice that there are still options. Then ask what role you can play to make sure the global effort arrives in time and at sufficient scale." – Fiona Wain, Chief Executive Officer, Environment Business Australia

    "Factor Five links together the two pillars of future planetary sustainability: (1) implementation of 'five-times' as productive technologies and systems across resource intensive industries and (2) adoption of new political frameworks and understandings for promoting rapid, ethical and just transition away from a prosperity that creates unacceptable environmental damage. We now have the tools! Do we have the courage?" – Professor Mary E. Clark, Author of Contemporary Biology, Ariadne's Thread, and In Search of Human Nature

    "Factor Five is an essential reference which shows companies who were inspired to action by An Inconvenient Truth how to radically reduce CO2 emissions AND reduce costs. It is one of the first books to feature the world's best practice sectoral case studies and then explain how they have achieved such large CO2 reductions cost effectively. It will help all CEOs identify significant cost saving opportunities and strategies to reduce risks in a carbon constrained future. We must all be committed to achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions - and Factor Five shows us how!" – Molly Harriss Olson, Founder National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development and Phillip Toyne, Director EcoFutures

    "There is a paucity of publications which holistically address the needs seen in pursuing the goal of sustainable development in a realistic way. Factor Five is thus a welcome addition to the body of knowledge and literature available today, since it shows to both policy makers and society as a whole the various solutions and policy options which are available. All we need to do now is to implement them." – Professor Walter Leal Filho, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg)

    "Factor Five is an important contribution to a growing corpus of work regarding energy and resource efficiency, work that is critical if the world is to meet the looming challenges of greenhouse gas emissions, sensible resource use, marketplace success, and global equity. Factor Five is especially appealing because it asks the right questions about what we do, why we do it, and, most importantly, how we do it. The authors have not only delved into the major resource-consuming systems we humans create, but also rigorously explore how they can be improved - by at least five times or more." Cameron M. Burns, Senior Editor and Journalist, Rocky Mountain Institute

    "Every day and all around us, you can see the earth's resources being wasted by us and our style of consumption, as if there is no tomorrow. Doing more with less has been around in many cultures for thousands of years, but not ours today, as you and me mostly don't do it at all. We all need to practice in our everyday work, business and home choices the immediate consideration and behaviours of using less in ways which allow both more and retention of a quality of life. If this new book, Factor Five, can provide us with inspiration from practical and meaningful examples then we better get on with it now, and start acting on its tips. Bring Factor Five into your consumption choices at home and at work, with your colleagues and friends and stop wasting our planet by 80% as if life on earth didn't count. Make Factor Five your first choice, not your last." – Greg Bruce, Executive Manager - Integrated Sustainability, City of Townsville

    "The Climate Exchange concept has proved that once GHG reductions programs build momentum there is no limit to the innovation and creativity that can be harnessed within companies. And of course innovation will be a critical part of the solution. Factor Five shows the potential for major resource intensive sectors to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective manner. Whether through emissions trading or other market-based mechanisms, our experience at the Chicago Climate Exchange and the European Climate Exchange has made clear that companies that lead to confront the challenge will be leaders in their sectors."Richard L. Sandor, Executive Chairman of Climate Exchange plc. (CLE.L), an AIM-listed company which owns the Chicago Climate Exchange, Chicago Climate Futures Exchange and the European Climate Exchange

    "In an ever more crowded and production-oriented world, the need to reduce the global ecological footprint, and hence provide the 'space' for ecosystem services to support a healthy biosphere, is paramount. Factor Five, through its exploration of the interwoven roles of technology, regulatory and economic tools and socio-political frameworks in achieving greater resource use efficiency, provides the basis for transition to a lower footprint future. This is an important book not least because it provides clear directions for achieving a more secure and sustainable planetary future." Dr Ronnie Harding, Institute of Environmental Studies, University of New South Wales, Australia

    "The authors articulate the technical and legislative solutions needed to drive massive resource efficiency and realign consumption patterns with natural renewal rates by taking a whole systems approach. It is obvious that our challenges have as much, if not more, to do with leadership and political will than with technical challenges. Factor Five provides case studies that challenge the status quo and will inspire every engineer, architect, and technician to strive for greater resource efficiency and address rapidly encroaching global constraints. At the same time, it provides a vision and road map for legislative solutions and a platform for elected officials to be purposeful leaders - exactly what we need right now to solve the most pressing problems human civilization has faced. A must read!"Archie Kasnet, Partner, Aedi Group

    "Throughout my experience as a young scientist across several countries, I have learned that working solely in environmentalism is not enough to tackle the problem of climate change; the integration of politics, science and the global economy are necessary to provide solutions. Factor Five embodies these principles and provides a clear path forward to realize the lowest hanging fruits in resource efficiency." – Mary Louise Gifford, Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley, USA

    "As natural resources become more scarce and we begin to price water and carbon, resource productivity becomes a critical driver for future growth. This book will be an essential tool for all those who wish to understand and seize the opportunities of this future world." – James Bradfield Moody, Executive Director, Development, CSIRO, and past member and co-founder of The Natural Edge Project

    "A deeply-researched report on the increasing worldwide potentials of energy and water productivity. The authors are renowned experts in this vital field and show in this book where the greatest improvements are to be found. Essential reading!" – Hazel Henderson, Author of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy, and President of Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil)

    "We've seen some change since Factor Four was published 12 years ago, but more is possible, and much more is needed. There are still those in the building, construction, steel and cement sectors who argue that four to five fold efficiency gains are not possible, and policy makers who don't understand what is needed to drive that change. Factor Five is a timely reminder of just what is possible, and a clarion call to policy makers that we need a new sense of direction and political decisions on framing conditions to realise that change." – Maria Atkinson, Global Head of Sustainability, Lend Lease Corporation

    "In the wake of a global financial crisis, climate change, water scarcity and energy security, the question of 'Resource Efficiency' for many professional engineers and their clients is no longer why?, but rather how? Factor Five is the perfect companion for decision makers and solutions providers who are seeking the answers to that important question." – Darren Bilsborough, Director of Sustainability, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and Adjunct Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University

    "For too long politicians and industry, amongst others, have prioritised economic growth and regarded it as the key measure of success. Even when we became aware of the ecological impacts of that growth, we were reluctant to revise our thinking because of the perceived cost. Climate change now leaves us with little choice. All sectors have to face up to the fact that our future is indeed bleak if we do not mitigate greenhouse gas emissions dramatically and rapidly. We need to adopt a 'whole systems approach' to production, regulation, and consumption. Factor Five sets out an agenda for achieving this and gives us hope that it may be achievable."Professor Juliet Roper, Associate Dean of Sustainability, Waikato University Management School and President of the Asia Pacific Academy of Business in Society (APABIS)

    "Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1893 - 1986) once said that 'Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and [then] thinking what nobody has thought.' - and so it was with Factor Four. Genuine ideas staring us in the face until brought to light by people looking at it a little differently. The application of the ideas in Factor Five will enhance one's design work, but the process and approach you will learn from reading it, can only enrich one's work and transform our society." – Philip Bangerter, Global Director - Sustainability, Hatch Engineering

    "A significant contribution to the current debate on how to maintain prosperity in a carbon constrained world. Sceptical government and corporate leaders will be surprised to find that a Factor 5 transition to a robust green economy is within their grasp by employing various strategies that are both politically and economically attractive." – Jim MacNeill, Chairman Emeritus International Institute for Sustainable Development and Secretary-General, Brundtland Commission

    ''Factor Five' is a fine collaboration of many scholards and thinkers, making for an enthusiastically recommended read for economic and environmental collections." – The Midwest Book Review, April 2010.

    "...this book may delight...As a result, having read Factor FIve, I am far, far better informed about resources productivity in practice"Charlie Wilson, Department of Geography and Environment, LSE, Environment and Planning C

    "It contains a lot of useful information, and its central claim that 'business as usual' cannot continue is certainly valid"A.A Batabyal, Choice, August 2010.

    "They provide the most comprehensive roadmap showing how the world's economies can rapidly reduce their resource consumption and associated pollution, while supporting strong economic growth" – Abstracts of Public Administration, Development, and Environment.

    "Factor Five is informative and challenges managers to campaign for eco-efficiency and politicians to develop barriers to green innovation. This book is fast on its way to becoming as influential a masterpiece as its predecessor."Qualityworld Magazine