Factor Five: Transforming the World Economy through 80% Resource Productivity Improvements – Book Review

FactorFive(front)largeFactor Five” is the long awaited sequel to the 1997 celebrated bestseller “Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use” by Ernst von Weizsäcker, Amory B. Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins. For “Factor Five” Weizsäcker is back with Charlie Hargroves, Michael Smith, Cheryl Desha and Peter Stasinopoulos as co-authors, a team of “early career Australians” who are part of The Natural Edge Project Team that aims to promote sustainable development solutions across all sectors of modern society.



With Ernst von Weizsäcker

With Ernst von Weizsäcker

Factor Five provides a compelling case for dramatically increasing resource productivity (at a profit) but also raises the stakes in a world where the impact of the global community is challenging the planet’s ability to cope. Rather then being fatalistic, the book inspires hope with solutions for a world where energy and resources are in short supply and where the emphasis of technological progress should be on energy and resource productivity, improving economic performance while benefitting the environment. Pragmatic and solutions oriented, the book focuses on adopting a whole-system approach to increase productivity across key sectors (buildings, heavy industry, agriculture and transport) and analyzes the policy, tax & regulatory, and financial aspects that must be addressed if we are to provide “sufficiency in a civilized world”.

The nations, corporations and households that adopt these strategies will achieve factor five resource-productivity improvements and will prosper and enjoy a lasting competitive advantage in an increasingly resource-constrained world.

Innovation waves

Just as “labor productivity” drove competitiveness during the first 200 years of the industrial revolution, economic advantage in the future will depend on resource-productivity where improvements will be driven by advances in sustainability, whole system design, bio-mimicry, green chemistry, industrial ecology, renewable energy and green nanotechnology.

This book represents an essential read for political and business leaders, government officials and anyone interested in sustainability and human progress.