Factor X pp 103-121 | Cite as

Strategies for Enhancing Resource Efficiency

Chapter
Part of the Eco-Efficiency in Industry and Science book series (ECOE, volume 29)

Abstract

There is shortage of water, land, and raw materials and too high greenhouse gas emissions – already now we run an economy ‘crashing against the Earth’. At the same time the global economy will need to grow another factor of 4 until 2050 to provide decent lives for all. We need drastic enhancement of resource-efficiency, particularly for the most resource-intensive consumption domains feeding, shelter, and moving. This paper identifies and explores the potential of five strategies to realize such radical decoupling: (1) reducing emission factors of processes and products; (2) producing more products with similar or lower inputs; (3) intensifying use of products; (4) reducing the material or product intensity of consumer expenditure and (5) enhancing quality of life at the same expenditure levels. The paper shows that none of these strategies is the silver bullet but that they have to be combined to realize the reduction factors needed. Macro economic and environmental monitoring tools based on environmentally extended input output analysis are well suited to monitor the contribution to decoupling of the first four strategies. To monitor the contribution of the fifth strategy, next to GDP quality of life must be monitored, e.g. via indicators like the new economics foundation ‘Happy Planet Index’.

Keywords

Emission Factor Ecological Footprint Consumption Expenditure Consumer Expenditure Western Economy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNODelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Industrial Ecology Program/Department of Product Design GloshaugenNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML)Leiden UniversityLeidenNetherlands

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