Factor X

“Factor X” stands for an intelligent, efficient and environmentally friendly use of natural resources (e. g. raw materials, water, land). Increasing resource efficiency by a Factor of X is an important element of a sustainable development.

Increasing use of natural resources

The increasingly intensive use of natural resources by humans is causing ecosystems to exceed their stress limits and exacerbating global environmental problems. In the last 40 years, the global extraction of raw materials has more than tripled to around 85 billion tonnes per year. Today, this already significantly exceeds the earth's regenerative capacity and endangers the development opportunities of future generations.

The term Factor X

The term Factor X goes back to the "Factor 10" concept developed by Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek. In the early 1990s Schmidt-Bleek postulated, that if sustainable development is to be achieved globally and for all of humankind, industrialized countries must reduce their consumption of resources by a factor of 10 (= roman X), or 90 percent, within 50 years. In 1995, Ernst-Ulrich von Weizsäcker stated that a factor of 4 can double wealth and halve resource consumption.

The idea behind Factor X

The use of natural resources must become x times more intelligent and efficient. X times more use could be made and therefore x times more wealth be generated from a ton of raw material. Whether by a factor of 4 (= 75 percent increase), 10 (90 percent) or more – resource efficiency must be drastically increased. The name Factor X implies that huge resource efficiency potential exists in many areas of production and consumption which so far has largely remained untapped and is in some cases not yet sufficiently known. In order to achieve a goal like Factor X, scientists, economists, politicians, product designers, consumers and the service sector must work together with creativity and dedication. The economy must become more efficient in its use of resources, and the supply of and demand for resource-efficient products and services must increase.

Short film FLOW – Faktor X: Beyond Climate Change

FLOW, a ten-minute film (playable below) produced by sustainable design centre on behalf of the Federal Environment Agency as part of the “Factor X: Beyond Climate Change” campaign, explores the issue of wastage of our natural resources. It reflects our consumption-oriented lifestyle through impressive imagery and illustrates how global material flows are linked. Facts and figures caution viewers to act responsibly without discouraging them. The film ends with the camera moving through the town of tomorrow with many examples of sustainable approaches.

Factor X Book Series

Since 2013, the Factor X book series promotes good and best practices to enable significant savings in natural resource use. In calaboration with the German Environment Agency (UBA, Umweltbundesamt), and contributions from leading names from from politics and academia, the Factor X book series proposes innovative strategies for implementing the Factor X concept.

Literature

  • Harry Lehmann, Christoph Hinske, Victoire de Margerie, Aneta Slaveikova Nikolova (Ed.): The Impossibilities of the Circular Economy. Separating Aspirations from Reality. German Envornment Agency. Routledge, 2023. 
  • Harry Lehmann (Ed.): Sustainable Development and Resource Productivity. The Nexus Appoaches. German Envornment Agency. Routledge, 2021.
  • Michael Angrick, Andreas Burger, Harry Lehmann (Ed.): Factor X. Re-source. Designing the Recycling Society. Eco-efficiency in Industry and Science (30), Springer, 2013.
  • Michael Angrick, Andreas Burger, Harry Lehmann (Ed.): Factor X. Policy, Strategies and Instruments for a Sustainable Resource Use. Eco-efficiency in Industry and Science (29), Springer, 2014.
  • Harry Lehmann (Ed.): Factor X. Challenges, Implementation Strategies and Examples for a Sustainbale Use of Natural Resources. Springer, 2018.
  • Harry Lehmann (Ed.): Sustainable Development and Resource Productivity. The Nexus Approach. Factor X: Studies in ustainable Natural Resource Management. Routledge, 2021.
  • Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek (mit Willy Bierter): Das MIPS Konzept. Weniger Naturverbrauch – mehr Lebensqualität durch den Faktor 10. , Droemer, 1998.
  • Ernst-Ulrich von Weizsäcker et al.: Faktor vier. Doppelter Wohlstand – halbierter Naturverbrauch, Droemer Knaur, 1995.
Short film "Beyond Climate Change – Flow"
Source: sustainable design center

Short film "Beyond Climate Change – Flow"

Short film "Beyond Climate Change – Flow" - Short version English
Source: Umweltbundesamt

Short film "Beyond Climate Change – Flow" - Short version English

Short film "Beyond Climate Change – Flow" - Short version German
Source: Umweltbundesamt

Short film "Beyond Climate Change – Flow" - Short version German

Short film "Beyond Climate Change – Flow" - Short version French
Source: Umweltbundesamt

Short film "Beyond Climate Change – Flow" - Short version French

Kurzfilm „Beyond Climate Change – Flow“ Kurzversion Chinesisch
Source: Umweltbundesamt

Kurzfilm „Beyond Climate Change – Flow“ Kurzversion Chinesisch

Kurzfilm „Beyond Climate Change – Flow“ Kurzversion Russisch
Source: Umweltbundesamt

Kurzfilm „Beyond Climate Change – Flow“ Kurzversion Russisch

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 sustainable resource policy