Archive for the ‘Factor 10 Institute’ Category

Warum der ökologische Rucksack und Faktor 10 entscheidend sind

Dienstag, März 15th, 2011



Arthur Koestler sagte einmal: „About feelings of gloom and warnings of doom. These two attitudes must not be confused…. A warning serves a preventive, a positive purpose. A warning must be life-affirming. The geese on the Capitol were not gloomy, Cassandra was. So the geese succeeded with their warning, and Cassandra did not”.

Jahrzehnte lang wurden Menschen, die um den Zustand der Umwelt bangten, für Cassandras gehalten. Sie scheinen jetzt zunehmend als Gänse wahrgenommen zu werden, obgleich sie bei einigen der erfolgreichsten Macher der Nachkriegszeit noch immer als unverbesserliche Phantasten oder gar als Brandstifter und Kommunisten gelten. Daran ist nichts Neues. Die Geschichte der Menschheit ist voll solcher Situationen. Sie treten vorhersagbar stets kurz vor Paradigmenwechseln auf. Hernach gibt es zum Ausgleich immer 1000 Väter des Neuen, das wiederum neuen Machern neue Chancen bietet.




Dienstag, März 15th, 2011
  • suited for the approach to ecological and economic sustainability in englisch 
  • Geeignet für den Bereich Dematerialisierung in german


Dienstag, März 15th, 2011

You have before you the English translation of the first extensive account of the Factor Concept. And here is a bit of history how Factor 10 came about:

It was in 1989 when I realized that our approach to environmental protection could not getus to sustainability. Progress demanded that we had to re-consider getting involved in solving one isolated problem after the after. Our attention had to be switched from the emission side of the economy to the input of natural resources. Only in so doing could we control the outputs and make the right decisions before the damage was done and payments for it became due. And what about energy? Shouldn’t we begin to worry about its material intensity, rather than limiting our focus on the associated emissions, like SO2 and CO2?

It was a difficult and exciting time. Hardly anybody believed that maintaining a stable ecosphere would require dramatically reducing the use of resources. Factor 10 I said was the average reduction goal for rich countries! What I claimed was that we should measure environmental stress potentials of goods and services with a balance rather than – or at least in addition to – with a gas chromatograph or a mass spectrometer. Megatons, so I declared, were our big problem, not nano-grams. And the ecological rucksack was to be the new yardstick for the production of goods, and its big brother MIPS for assessing the whole life-cycle of things.

Ernst von Weizsäcker gave me a chance to solidify my model at the newly created Wuppertal Institut. To some degree he even believed my ideas. As is well known: he

reached out for factor 4 later when began writing about resources and energy. When you ask him about that, he will tell you that a tenfold improvement has to be reached in the long term. His earlier finding that prices do not speak the ecological truth is as true today as ever. And as long as this is the case, sustainability is but a dream.

In my endeavors at Wuppertal I got selfless help from young colleagues who had the guts to stand up to doubts, ridicule and even abuse from inside and outside the institute. Without being able to name them all, here are those who made vital contributions early: Stefan Bringezu, Friedrich Hinterberger, Harry Lehmann, Christa Liedtke, Christopher Manstein, Helmut Schütz, Joachim Spangenberg, Hartmut Stiller, Ursula Tischner, und Jola Welfens. I am grateful for their help in bringing my model to life. Without them a large basket of publications would not have appeared, convincing the world slowly that resource productivity of goods and services play a decisive role if a future with a future is to be gained.

Lately, industry and the ministers of economy have begun to worry seriously about the continued availability of natural resources. Welcome to the debate on a limited planet earth! One can only hope that nations will not apply economic power ruthlessly in the struggles ahead. The poor people would be again the ones to pay the price. And ecologically as well as economically we would continue to move away even further from sustainable conditions. During the past 20 years we have shown in many enterprises that a radical reduction of resource use for goods and services must not lead to a loss in end-use satisfaction.


But the big question stubbornly remains: what does it take for finally breaking away from the old ways and move toward a new economic reality?



The following paper was prepared for the Stakeholders Consultation on Eco-Innovation Action Plan, 11 February, 2010 in Bruxelles

Mittwoch, Februar 10th, 2010

In order to ensure a lasting protection of the eco-system functions and services, as well as in order to maximize the competitive economic advantage of the EU, the following actions, legal provisions, and R&D pertaining to eco-innovation are recommended.

further information: Eco Innovation Plan

Eco-innovation – putting the EU on the path to a resource and energy efficient economy

Mittwoch, Februar 10th, 2010

The objective of this study is to support the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee in its work on the EU’s industrial and energy policy and to give advice on the following issues: Why is the issue of resource scarcity back on the agenda? What are the strategic conclusions for the EU? What can the EU expect from eco-innovation in a large range of industrial sectors? Are existing measures meeting the EU aims and expectations, and what new policy initiatives should be set forward? To meet these objectives, this study is structured as follows: Chapter 2 will give an overview on resource scarcities. Chapter 3 elaborates on ecoinnovation, including trends, barriers and driving forces. Chapter 4 outlines proposals for future EU policies. Chapter 5 sketches out a possible vision for the future.

futher information: Eco Innovation

System Policies

Mittwoch, Februar 10th, 2010

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862

In brief
Sustainable economic conditions cannot be reached without increasing the resource productivity of the industrialized countries dramatically. The price structure as well as economic boni and mali must be adjusted for approaching sustainability. By 2050, the worldwide average per capita consumption shall not exceed 8 tons of material per year. System policies need be developed and applied to ascertain success.

further indormation: system policies

Resource productivity in 7 steps

Mittwoch, Februar 10th, 2010

How to develop eco-innovative products and services and improve their material footprint

Without radical dematerialization there will be no economic sustainability.In his book “The Call Girls” Arthur Koestler once noted „About feelings of gloom and warnings ofdoom. These two attitudes must not be confused. It is a great mistake to confuse them. A warning
serves a preventive, a positive purpose. A warning must be life-affirming. The geese on the Capitolwere not gloomy, Cassandra was. So the geese succeeded with their warning and Cassandra did not”.
For many years we in the environmental protection business were considered Cassandras. Unfortunately the climatic changes and Katrina in New Orleans – among many other recent desasters – made us look more like geese.
It is 20 years since I came to the conclusion that the physical root cause for the ecological failure ofour economy is the extravagant consumption of natural resources. This may sound trivial today, but atthat time I was pretty much alone with this opinion.
Still today, some 90% of the material lifted from nature does not appear in final goods! I proposed atenfold dematerialization of western technologies on average as a conditio sine qua non for approachingsustainable conditions, and my co-workers later showed in enterprises throughout Europe andJapan that very substantial savings in resource inputs are achievable with state of the art technologywithout loss of end-use satisfaction.

further information: Resource Productivity in 7 steps

A Solution Named Dematerialization System Policies

Sonntag, Dezember 13th, 2009

Sustainable economic conditions cannot be reached without increasing the resource productivity of the industrialized countries dramatically. By 2050, the world-wide average per capita consumption shall not exceed 8 tons of material per year. System policies need be developed and applied to ascertain success.


  1. The existing economic system de-stabilizes the ecosystem services that are crucial for the survival of humans on earth, and cannot be replaced by technology.

  2. The physical root cause imperiling the eco-system services is the enormous consumption of natural resources (material, water, and land surface) for creating material welfare. The economic root cause is the near zero price for using nature.

  3. Limited physical resources on earth, population growth and the need to protect eco-system services necessitate a substantial increase in resource productivity.

  4. The human economy must be constrained to function within the limits of the environment and its resources and in such a way that it works with the grain of, rather than against, natural laws and processes (Ekins).

  5. First estimates indicate that capping the yearly consumption of natural material resources at close to 6 or 7 tons per capita seems unavoidable. This implies a tenfold dematerialization on average for the economy of traditionally industrialized countries.

weitere Informationen  A Solution Named Dematerialization

Amsterdam Declaration of the Global Assembly of the Club of Rome

Donnerstag, November 5th, 2009

The Club of Rome calls for urgent action to avert the growing risk of catastrophic climate change. The most
recent scientific data presented to the Assembly by the world’s top climate scientists demonstrate the
accelerating impacts of climate change on the natural systems of the planet. Beyond this existential threat to
the future of humanity, the Club stresses the need to find a new path for world development to resolve the
connected challenges in the fields of environment, global development and the restructuring of economies
onto a sustainable path. We insist that responsibility for care in the use of energy and resources,
responsibility for the environment and social inclusion are not simply costs to the economy, but investments
in the future of humanity. Governments have directed trillions of dollars to stabilize the financial system: we
call for the required levels of finance to salvage the future of the planet.

further Information Amsterdam Declaration

Report on Eco-Innovation to the European Parliament 2009

Dienstag, Oktober 13th, 2009

by: Wuppertal Institut (D), Sustainable Europe Research Institure (A), Factor 10 Institute (F)., ISBN: 978-3-929944-77-8