Summary of Factor Five

Transforming the Global Economy through 80% Improvements in Resource Productivity

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Factor Five book summary
How to balance economic growth with resource sustainability by reducing energy use by a factor of five


8 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


Recycling garbage, turning off lights, taking shorter showers: All these actions contribute to the reduction of energy consumption. Written as a joint project by Ernst von Weizsäcker, the author of Factor Four, and by four experts from The Natural Edge Project, an environmental research group, this call to action argues for a “whole-system approach” that unites engineers, designers, scientists and builders to create new products, processes, buildings, homes, factories and stores to reduce energy consumption by 80%, diminishing it to one-fifth of current usage, by 2050. A mountain of research, statistics, case studies and examples provide a strong, documented case that achieving “sustainable consumption” without forgoing prosperity not only is possible but necessary. getAbstract recommends this work to policy makers, executives, engineers, designers and all those who want to know why they should keep separating their plastic from their glass.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How “Factor Five” improvements can lead to ecological and economic equilibrium,
  • How current technologies are saving energy in four major business sectors, and
  • Why governments must take the lead in preserving the Earth’s environment.


“Factor Five”
The whirlwind pace of human development, accelerated by the past century’s technological progress, finally has matched the Earth’s ability to sustain such growth. “The that we are damaging our planet to the point that it may not be able to maintain the conditions...
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About the Authors

Ernst von Weizsäcker, lead author of Factor Four, is co-chairman of the UNEP International Panel on Sustainable Resource Management. Karlson Hargroves, Michael H. Smith, Cheryl Desha and Peter Stasinopoulos are members of The Natural Edge Project (TNEP).

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