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:: Factor Five

+ 10.07.2010 + Transforming the Global Economy through 80% Improvements in Resource Productivity.

'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'


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.


Order online



'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

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