Skip to main content

Über dieses Buch

This book describes and analyses necessities for a more resource-efficient world. It discusses solutions for a more sustainable use of natural resources, addressing decision-makers and experts from the fields of policy development, industry, academia, civil society, and the media. The book presents strategies, concrete ways and examples of achieving more sustainable resource use in practice.

Following on from two previous titles published on Factor X by the Umweltbundesamt (German Environment Agency), entitled “Factor X: Policy, Strategies and Instruments for a Sustainable Resource Use” (2013) and “Factor X: Re-source – Designing the Recycling Society” (2014), this book further investigates how savings in natural resources and resource efficiency improvements could be achieved, focusing on good practice examples that cover different resource categories, pursue different efficiency strategies and come from different sectors, e.g. innovative products or services, technology, man

agement approaches, systemic approaches, etc.

The background against which this work is done has a highly comprehensive span, from the first Declaration of the Factor X Club in the nineties, to the European Commission’s Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe that was published in September 2011, through to the German Federal government’s German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess I and II) in 2012 and 2016, the G7 Alliance for Resource Efficiency, and most recently the development and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).





Chapter 1. Factor X – 25 Years – “Factor X Concept” Is Essential for Achieving Sustainable Development

A dematerialisation of industrialised countries by a Factor of 10 (minus 90%) was first suggested 25 years ago in order to achieve sustainable economic development worldwide by 2050. The Factor 10 postulate was a response to two realities: first, anthropogenic material flows have increased dramatically since the first Industrial Revolution, and second, the richest countries consume significantly more natural resources per capita than the world’s poorest countries. Twenty-five years later these facts have not changed in principle, and a global per capita consumption of three to eight tonnes of primary raw material must be reached in this century. Today the term “Factor X” is often used instead of “Factor 10”, because the necessary dematerialisation is different from country to country. Industrialised countries have higher targets. The article describes the beginning of the Factor X postulate in the early 1990s as well as developments thereafter and discusses today’s options and challenges for tomorrow.

Harry Lehmann, Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek, Christopher Manstein

Chapter 2. Necessities for a Resource Efficient Europe

In this article, the authors list some of the main challenges that need to be overcome in order to make the transition to a Europe founded on resource justice, arguing that it is important to move beyond focusing solely on resource efficiency to a focus on reducing absolute resource use. Despite increased awareness about the importance of protecting the environment, mainstream economic theory and practice, as well as mainstream politics and governance, still fails to consider environmental costs; Europe’s absolute resource use remains one of the highest globally and it continues to use more than its fair share of resources. Europe is highly dependent on imported resources causing significant negative impacts in third countries, including the Global South. To address this, the authors argue that it is essential to measure and monitor all the resources embodied in a product throughout its full life-cycle, from extraction to consumption taking a consumption-based, or footprint, approach. The authors show how the EU’s Resource Efficiency Roadmap, 7th Environmental Action Plan and Circular Economy Package do not sufficiently reflect the justice aspects of resource use or ensure coherence with other policies. They highlight levels which need to be addressed for resource justice agenda including governance, financial tools and structures, social innovation and behaviour change, alternative business models as well as legal and regulatory frameworks. The authors argue that the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda should be taken as overall framework to support more coherent policymaking. Finally, they argue that we should move beyond ‘resource efficiency’ to ‘resource sufficiency’, and fit our economies into “one-planet-lifestyles”.

Leida Rijnhout, Magda Stoczkiewicz, Meadhbh Bolger

Chapter 3. Global Megatrends and Resource Use – A Systemic Reflection

The exponentially developing Global Megatrends of human society can be explained and modelled from a systemic perspective. Results show simultaneous exponential growth for population, energy consumption, raw materials extraction, GDP, pollution and climate change. The authors participated in the development of the WORLD6 system dynamics model to explain these trends and to explore what the future may hold. This was done based on the systemic approach in order to include feedback loops and changes in trends that may occur at later points in time. The modelling results allow to reproduce developments that are referred to as “Global Megatrends” in literature and that are used to proof the concept of the Anthropocene. While in the Global Megatrends literature and the Anthropocene literature exponential growth is based on empirical data we suggest taking a longer and systemic perspective on these global trends. Whether the trends are to level off, decline or crash depends to a large degree on future policies. We can confirm that the “rise and fall scenarios” are principally right in their analysis as well as the root causes. It is evident from our WORLD6 simulations that a business-as-usual scenario will lead to a decline of disruptive nature. It is also evident that the worst case scenario can be avoided by a careful design of policies, using the systems perspective assisted by dynamic model simulations. The German policies for an Energiewende (energy transition) must be linked to a future policy of Ressourcewende (resource transition) and a Nachhaltigkeitswende (sustainability transition). Such policies appear strategically appropriate and well founded in science.

Ullrich Lorenz, Harald Ulrik Sverdrup, Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir

Chapter 4. Data, Indicators and Targets for Comprehensive Resource Policies

Today’s most pressing environmental problems, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, land cover conversion, etc. are caused by the overall growth of production and consumption. For a methodologically sound and comprehensive measurement of societal resource use and its environmental, economic and social impacts as well as for monitoring progress towards defined targets, appropriate indicators are needed. In addition to the territorial indicators currently in use, such indicators take into account resources “embodied” in traded goods and services. These “footprint-type indicators” help understand to what extent a country’s economy, the environment, and the resource efficiency performance of goods and services are influenced by global value chains. In this book chapter we discuss the state of the art of data and indicator development focussing on three different types of natural resources – raw materials, land, and water. First an overview of methodological options regarding environmental accounting frameworks as well as the calculation of footprint-type indicators is provided. We show empirical trends of resource use and analyse to what extent drivers of global resource use such as the European Union have managed to decouple their economic development from resource use. Methodological requirements and necessary next developments are identified and the ongoing processes as well as empirical analyses linked to the question of how targets for sustainable resource use can be identified in both regards, to the methodological as well as institutional level.

Stephan Lutter, Stefan Giljum, Martin Bruckner

Chapter 5. The Critical Raw Materials Concept: Subjective, Multifactorial and Ever-Developing

Criticality analysis has established itself as a multifactorial, action-oriented, socio-economic raw materials scarcity assessment method which is subject to continuous development. A raw material is critical when its supply is at risk and a company or economy is vulnerable to supply restrictions of that raw material. The binary labelling of raw materials as either critical or not delivers a strong message. However, each raw material has a characteristic risk profile which may not be described by an aggregated criticality score and a discrete treshold value. A differentiated interpretation allows for a deeper understanding of the raw material supply situation and for the adoption of appropriate measures. Criticality should be understood as a continuum, subjective to the raw material system in question. A harmonised criticality methodology presented in the industrial guideline on resource efficiency (VDI 4800-II) allows for a flexible application of the concept.ÖkoRess, a research project of the German Environment Agency, examines why and how environmental aspects should be included into the criticality concept. A raw material is consequently environmentally critical if it exhibits a high overall environmental hazard potential and is at the same time of great importance for a company or economy. A high environmental hazard potential can indicate a future supply risk. The conclusions to be drawn, however, differ from the conclusions from conventional criticality analysis. Ecological criticality widens the focus to include measures used to foster responsible sourcing and mining practices, which until now have not been discussed in the context of criticality.

Jan Kosmol, Felix Müller, Hermann Keßler

Chapter 6. Equitable, Just Access to Natural Resources: Environmental Narratives during Worsening Climate Crises

The emergence of distinct resource management narratives—based on principles, analysis, strategies, tactics and alliances—is a natural signal of a maturing field. The speed of this process has been hastened since the 1990s thanks to concern about climate change. What had existed as a relatively minor area of environmental economics that can be termed ‘ecological modernisation’ suddenly was put into practice—e.g. in water commoditisation and carbon markets—by the time of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. Simultaneously a discourse about society-nature relations known as environmental justice emerged as a result of differential race impacts of pollution. By the 2000s, this approach had also given birth to ‘climate justice’ politics. The divergences associated with these arguments are evident in global climate governance, where the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and G7 deal a few months prior reveal very different standpoints. Now the Trump regime’s withdrawal from international obligations amplifies why a new approach that reconciles the ecological modernisation, sustainable development and climate justice perspectives is vital. One useful case is the gradual adoption of ‘natural capital accounting’ techniques, which in Africa should justify an anti-extractivist politics. The bottom line, though, is that the current neoliberal regime which relies upon market signals is not appropriate for natural resource management, especially in addressing the most vital problem: climate change.

Patrick Bond

Implementation Strategies


Chapter 7. Circular Economy: Origins and Future Orientations

The circular economy is increasingly attracting the attention of various actors in Europe and globally. It refers to closing material loops and prolonging the lifetime of materials; and, as such, presents a radically different socio-technological future compared to the unsustainable conventional ‘take-make-dispose’ economic model. The concepts underpinning the circular economy are not new, and ecological economics, environmental economics and industrial ecology have been highlighted as its significant antecedents. The circular economy requires involvement of all the societal actors: companies, which bring new circular economy business models; consumers, who create the demand for products and services that apply circular economy principles and decision makers, who support the transition with ‘better’ policy instruments and governance. The circular economy is expected to bring multiple benefits to the environment and the economy, but only a few examples have demonstrated the circular economy’s potential economic benefits for industrial actors. This chapter provides an overview of the concepts, principles, expectations, strategies, business models, indicators and future trends connected to the circular economy.

Riina Antikainen, David Lazarevic, Jyri Seppälä

Chapter 8. Financial System, and Energy and Resource Husbandry

This chapter explores aspects of the relationship between the financial system and resource industries, starting with general criteria for sound investment and an overview of the various materials and resources that need to be distinguished. To this end, the focus is first placed on fossil energy commodities that do not lend themselves to management in a circular economy, before the metals and mining sector and its regulation are presented. The global transformation of energy systems presents an opportunity to phase out a non-circular industry and replace it with one that is characterised less by commodities for consumption and more by commodities for the manufacture of energy conversion equipment and durable investment goods. Combining the energy and mineral resource industries, the impact of the decline of fossil energy industries is discussed, including the implications for international trade, economic activity, public finance and the financial sector. The chapter concludes with the general argument that the financial system is affected by changes in the resource industries and their shift to a circular economy, and that it can facilitate that shift if the political, legal and regulatory framework is right. Finally, a suite of criteria for investment in support of resource sector transformation and the circular economy is proposed.

R. Andreas Kraemer

Chapter 9. Developing Resource Competence – Anchoring Resource Conservation and Efficiency in the German Education System

Commissioned by the Federal Environmental Agency (Umweltbundesamt), the project “Identifying and Developing Opportunities for All Areas of Education in the Fields of Resource Conservation and Resource Efficiency” (BilRess) contributed to raising awareness for resource conservation and resource efficiency by further incorporating these subjects in all areas of education in Germany. After an inventory analysis of existing offerings on resource conservation and resource efficiency, the areas in need for action have been successfully identified and possible approaches for different educational contexts were suggested. Based on this, the “Road Map Resource Education” was developed. This lays the foundation for the integration of the subjects resource conservation and resource efficiency. Concurrently, the BilRess website ( and the network “Education for Resource Conservation and Resource Efficiency” was created.The project was funded through the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) within the context of the Ufoplan 2012 (FKZ 371293103). After the closure of the project, the BilRess-Network continues to be carried out in the framework of the “Kompetenzzentrum Ressourceneffizienz 2015–2019” (Competence Centre for Resource Efficiency 2015–2019), which is run by the VDI Centre for Resource Efficiency (VDI ZRE). This paper outlines the course of the project and presents its results. It focuses on developing recommendations, strategies and best practices for further anchoring the subjects resource conservation and efficiency in the German educational system. Additionally, the development of the BilRess-Network is outlined and a forecast on the topic of resource education is provided.

Carolin Baedeker, Holger Rohn, Michael Scharp, Jaya Bowry

Chapter 10. The Way from Problem Scope Towards the Vision of a Low Resource Society – The First Working Period of the Resources Commission at the German Environment Agency (KRU)

The Resources Commission at the German Environment Agency (KRU)

In Chap. 10, the Resources Commission at the German Environment Agency (KRU) introduces itself and its tasks within the policy frame of resource efficiency topics in Germany.In its first working period, the KRU has oriented itself outlining first a framework paper addressing the change towards a “low resource society” and has started a vision process focusing urgent action fields for an effective resource policy. The results underline and confirm the need to apply an integrated policy mix in Germany, in Europe or internationally. Chapter 10 focuses on the core visions and ideas of the KRU and their current initial starting points as a contribution to the discussion in search for the best solutions. To achieve the goal of low resource products, processes and services along the supply chain, the KRU suggests a product labelling approach in the form of a state-run product labelling office which supervises the mandatory labelling of products with regard to resource efficiency and recyclability. Additionally, the KRU outlines scenarios of an ambitious policy mix at least at the European level that leads to market success and a low resource society and economy. Furthermore; the KRU examined the legal feasibility for a law governing resource conservation (‘Resource Conservation Act’). Synthesizing the societal and scientific discourse on climate and resource policy this targeted approach seems to be a manageable undertaking. Finally, the KRU provides an outlook on future issues on its agenda in a further working period.

Sascha Hermann, Christa Liedtke

Chapter 11. Implementing Resource Efficiency in Europe – Overview of Policies, Instruments and Targets in 32 European Countries

This chapter presents an overview of national approaches to material resource efficiency and the circular economy in 32 European countries. It is based on a detailed survey carried out by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and its Eionet network in the second half of 2015.The chapter explores similarities and differences in policies and strategies adopted by the countries, policy drivers, priority resources and sectors, policy objectives as well as targets, indicators and institutional set-up. To provide the context for country-level information, the chapter includes a short overview of the evolution of the EU regulatory framework in this policy area.The analysis covers material resources (rather than the more broadly defined natural resources) as well as those initiatives which countries take to close material loops in the circular economy.A selection of specific country examples is presented to illustrate the wide variety of national approaches. Many more examples are included in the June 2016 EEA report “More from less – material resource efficiency in Europe”, which serves as the basis for this chapter. All national examples are described in more detail in the 32 detailed country profiles published alongside the main report.

Paweł Kaźmierczyk

Chapter 12. The Resource Nexus and Resource Efficiency: What a Nexus Perspective Adds to the Story

This chapter addresses the resource nexus, a concept that has recently become quite popular. It is often framed as a water-energy-food nexus and discussed at international organisations, within infrastructure planning units and among actors on the ground concerned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. The chapter seeks to clarify a common understanding of what the concept entails and proposes an augmented five-node nexus, which includes materials and land. We define the nexus as a set of context-specific interlinkages between critical natural resources used as inputs into socio-economic systems of provision. Furthermore, we discuss how the nexus fits into the narratives of resource efficiency and eco-innovation. The chapter argues in favour of the complementary strengths of both and gives an outlook on governance options.

Raimund Bleischwitz, Michal Miedzinski

Chapter 13. Germany’s Resource Efficiency Agenda: Driving Momentum on the National Level and Beyond

ProgRess—the first resource efficiency programme to be adopted by a European government—has been in place since 29 February 2012, with Germany embracing a trailblazing role once again. And that is a good thing, because only by being highly innovative both in terms of technology and society will we have a chance to compete globally and hold our ground as a prosperous country with a high-wage economy. We seek to use our innovative capacity very purposefully to enable as many people as possible throughout the world to permanently enjoy good material living conditions—without damaging nature or squandering our planet’s irreplaceable resources. After all, this Earth is only on loan to us from our children.The German government and Bundestag (lower house of parliament) passed resolutions requiring reporting on progress in resource efficiency and an update of the ProgRess programme every 4 years. We fulfilled this requirement on 2 March 2016 when the federal cabinet adopted ProgRess II, which is both an implementation report and an update of ProgRess. This article describes Germany’s activities at the national level and Germany’s involvement in European and international initiatives, and it outlines the broad range of work being done in Germany by the 16 Länder (states) and at local authority level. It concludes by looking ahead to the further discussion in Germany and developments towards ProgRess III, to be passed in 2020.

Reinhard Kaiser

Chapter 14. Results of Three Cost-Effective, Innovative and Transferable Resource-Efficiency Instruments for Industries in the Basque Country

Driving resource efficiency in the industrial sector requires market and economic instruments that are flexible and easily accessible by companies. The Basque Country has used private-public partnership to develop three innovative instruments that generate an annual private turnover between €4 and €178 annually per public-sector euro spent, with a maximum dedication of 0.7 persons a year to manage each instrument. Driving product environmental innovation through the Basque Ecodesign Centre, reinforcing sustainable production with tax deduction for the Clean Technology List, and closing the loop by the Circular Economy Demonstration Projects Programme are critically analysed instruments to facilitate their total or partial replication in other countries or regions.

Ander Elgorriaga Kunze, Ignacio Quintana San Miguel

Chapter 15. The Circular Economy Package of the European Union

The Circular Economy Package which the European Commission presented on 2 December 2015 aims to stimulate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy, improve international competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs. The package fleshes out the EU Roadmap to a Resource-efficient Europe where it relates to the circular economy.The package comprises legislative proposals on waste and an action plan (Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Closing the loop – An EU action plan for the Cirular Economy, COM(2015) 614 final). The legislative proposals on waste aim to expand recycling and reduce land filling, and the action plan for the circular economy contains proposals for “closing the loop” in the circular economy and including all phases of a product’s lifecycle, from manufacture and use to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials.The revised legislative proposal on waste, which encompasses amendments to four legal acts, sets waste reduction targets and is meant to create a long-term framework for waste management and recycling. To ensure effective implementation, the waste reduction targets in the new proposal are accompanied by various measures. However, the level of ambition of the measures included in the action plan offers countries with highly developed waste management systems such as Germany, the Netherlands, Austria or Denmark little new incentive, whereas they are ambitious for other Member States.

Joachim Wuttke

Chapter 16. Saving Natural Resources Through Conversion and Constructional Densification in Urban Areas: Ecological Potentials and Limits

Considering the increasing urbanization in already dense agglomerated regions, constructional conversion and densification could be promising options to achieve exceptional savings on natural resources – more particularly of construction materials and land. However, challenges that relate to compact city structures have to be considered in an integrated view to avoid conflicts between the saving of scarce resources and further targets like enabling a high quality of urban life. This article will focus on resource saving potentials through the measures of constructional densification and conversion in urban areas in Germany under consideration of challenges and conflicting goals to other relevant issues of urban development. The main finding show that considerable savings of construction materials, energy or land could be reached through dense building structures and the conversion of building stocks into alternative uses.

Daniel Reißmann, Matthias Buchert

Chapter 17. The Path to Degrowth for a Sustainable Society

The word degrowth has been recently used in the ecological, economic and social debate; it started being used in 2002 as a provocative slogan to denounce the mystification of the ideology of sustainable development. It now designates a complex alternative project, with undeniable analytical and political significance. It is about first escaping from consumption society and then building a durable society of prosperity without growth or frugal abundance. Thus degrowth is not the alternative, but rather a matrix of alternatives that opens the human adventure to a plurality of destinies and space for creativity, while removing the lead blanket of economic totalitarism. Degrowth therefore offers a general framework that provides meaning to many sectorial initiatives or local resistances favoring strategic compromises and tactical alliances. This project may seem like a pipe dream today but it is extremely realistic if we want to avoid the collapse of human society in the future.

Serge Latouche

Examples of Good Practice


Chapter 18. Social Innovation Repair – The R.U.S.Z Case: A Systemic Approach Contributing to the Unplanned Obsolescence of Capitalism

Repair and Service Centre R.U.S.Z (Reparatur- und Service-Zentrum R.U.S.Z) is a social business and a service for consumer protection and sustainability. In 1998 it started as a work integration social enterprise for long-term unemployed persons creating and using the business model of a sustainable repair shop. R.U.S.Z founded the success story Repair Network Vienna with some 80 SME members. It was among the initiators of the Austrian umbrella organization RepaNet and its EU equivalent RREUSE, which gather social enterprises with activities in re-use, repair and recycling. These networks help making advocacy work successful. Today, R.U.S.Z is Austria’s biggest independent repair centre for electrical and electronic appliances for all kinds and brands and a centre of excellence for the fight against planned obsolescence, for consumer protection and social businesses. Moreover, R.U.S.Z is working for the transformation of the current linear economy into a circular economy.R.U.S.Z’ primary objectives are resource efficiency and social inclusion. R.U.S.Z provides repair services for household appliances, consumer electronics and IT. It sells certified, high-quality used equipment as well as new washing machines that were diagnosed in the in-house R&D department as particularly durable and easily repairable. From 1998 to 2007, R.U.S.Z was commissioned by the Public Employment Service Austria (AMS). R.U.S.Z was successfully transformed into a not-for-profit private enterprise in 2008. Today, it operates on a cost-recovery basis and employs more than 20 former long-term unemployed people. R.U.S.Z has been leading many initiatives to replicate its model and also lifts the barriers it is facing, both in Austria and Europe by initiating changes in national and EU policies.

Sepp Eisenriegler, Greta Sparer

Chapter 19. Resource Efficiency in the Building Sector

Endeavours towards resource-efficient and climate friendly construction seem to be reaching their limits. The current approaches, which focus on continual reductions in heating energy consumption, are leading to increasingly elaborate insulation measures and complex air-tight buildings. Further improvements can only be realized in the scope of the building’s lifecycle. Factor X offers a pragmatic approach by reducing the consumption of non-renewable raw materials, non-renewable energy and the emission of greenhouse gases throughout the building’s entire life cycle, resulting in significant improvements in comparison with other strategies employed to date. This concept has already been put into practice in two small residential areas in Inden and Eschweiler (North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany), and the first positive experiences with building contractors and related companies have been gathered.

Klaus Dosch

Chapter 20. Eco Efficiency and Circular Production: Cases from the Netherlands’ Eastern Region

This chapter discusses three case studies of circular production in the eastern region of the Netherlands, where the Dutch Hanse tradition of craftsmanship and family business links up with modernity and care for the environment. The main goal of the firms in our case studies is to prevent waste and to use recycled and non-fossil resources in their own production processes. Moreover, attention is paid to the circularity of the whole supply chain by acting as orchestrator of that chain. Government should support these firms by facilitating knowledge spill-overs, providing proper education and internalising the positive externalities that the strategies of these firms bring about in terms of the circular economy and sustainability.

Frank A. G. den Butter, Harry A. A. M. Webers

Chapter 21. An Approach to Identify Resource Patterns on a Neighborhood Level

Resource stock and flow accounting has been increasingly applied on a country and city level. This paper elaborates on the possibilities to conduct a resource flow analysis even on a neighborhood/district level to identify, e.g., resource use related characteristics. Such resource patterns can be used to identify areas in different parts of a country or even larger geographical regions that are characterized by comparable types and amounts of resources entering the system boundaries. This identification might lead to archetypes that will help in deriving and applying policies, resource optimization strategies, etc. The approach presented in this paper stems from experiences made in the field of building stock modelling where archetypes are frequently used to characterize building stocks of a city or even a portfolio within a city. Furthermore, this approach is applied to develop energy and climate strategies for cities, renovation and maintenance strategies for real estate owners including investment planning. This paper reveals the shortcomings as well as the possibilities of resource pattern identification on a neighborhood/district level and closes with an outlook of necessary next steps to improve the quality of such an approach and increase the potential to use this approach as a strategic instrument.

Magnus Österbring, Leonardo Rosado, Holger Wallbaum, Paul Gontia

Chapter 22. Strategic Business Examples from Finland: The Growth of the Smartup Industry

The transition to a carbon neutral and resource smart society is perhaps the largest societal transformation of our time. There is an urgent need to develop scalable solutions, which help individuals lead sustainable lives and radically reduce ecological footprints. The promising news is that there is a whole new branch of startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) and also larger companies creating new solutions to these challenges. We call these ‘smartups’. Recently, smartups have emerged to provide new products and services particularly in the areas of housing, mobility and food. These three essential sectors are where most of our household material footprint originates from as well as the majority of monthly expenses. Therefore, solutions are needed dissolve the link, even a dependency, between the majority of household consumption and the root causes of emissions. Smartups are able to solve this dependency by providing cheaper, better and more ecological solutions in the areas that we spend most of our money in the first place.This article explains what smartups are, focusing on their business models and what is needed to make them successful. We introduce two promising smartups in the food sector from Finland and analyse the reasons for their potential and success. We find that globally emerging smartups will only be successful if their added value is based both on making individual lives easier, happier and more comfortable while simultaneously enabling the transition to an ecologically sound lifestyle. Smartups can disrupt markets and create new ones, but the growth of the industry is dependent on determined support. Thus, we suggest that one of the best ways to support the development of smart concepts is to create strategic partnerships between smartups and the existing large companies.

Tuuli Kaskinen, Satu Lähteenoja, Mikael Sokero, Iiris Suomela

Chapter 23. Circular Flanders: Adaptive Policy for a Circular Economy

Sustainable, systemic changes in the use of both energy and raw materials are key to safeguarding a strong economy and a high standard of living in Flanders. The transition to a circular economy is contingent upon comprehensive change; it hinges not only on technological advances but also on systemic organisational, societal, financial and policy innovations.Flanders has already taken the first steps towards policy changes that promote a circular economy, beginning with the adoption of the Flanders’ Materials Programme in 2011. Six years down the road, starting in 2017, the programme will be relaunched as Circular Flanders, with an even stronger focus on an integrated approach to a circula r future.

Sam Deckmyn

Chapter 24. The 100 Companies Project Resource Efficient Practice Cases from Producing Industry

Initiatives from industry and good corporate examples are required in politics to show how resource efficiency can be improved in industrial production processes. However, companies are usually reluctant to tell their success stories. In the highly industrialised state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, a project was carried out to present and analyse 100 concrete examples from companies. The aim was to overcome the barriers to communication about corporate resource efficiency and possible potentials for cost saving. To this end, it was necessary to consider the different objectives of the actors. It can be inferred that from the perspective of a company—i.e., an economic perspective—resource efficiency is perceived as a strategy to help to save costs.

Mario Schmidt

Chapter 25. Lifestyle Material Footprint of Finnish Households – Insights, Targets, Transitions

This chapter presents the results of and reflects on several projects and studies that analysed the material footprints of Finnish households on a micro level and developed options for a transition towards sustainable household consumption. We started 10 years ago by establishing a database and methodology for assessing the material footprint of household consumption. The first projects thus concentrated on analysing Lifestyle Material Footprints and understanding the facts behind them. A sustainable annual target level of eight tonnes per person was introduced in a later study. On the basis of this, measures for a transition towards the target were developed and implemented in experiments with households and other actors in recent projects. Currently, a joint effort between municipal, private and educational actors seeks to challenge households to systematically reduce their material footprints. The chapter concludes that the Lifestyle Material Footprint is suitable for providing relevant insights into household consumption, illustrating sustainability targets and facilitating the transition towards sustainable lifestyles.

Michael Lettenmeier

Chapter 26. Construction 4.0: The LifeCycle Tower and Digitalised Timber Construction

The purpose of this paper is to rethink the world of construction anew and to transfer it to the future with modern methods and technologies. To this end, we present the LifeCycle Tower (LCT)-construction system that was developed at the end of 2010 as part of a multi-annual, cooperative and interdisciplinary research project lasting over several years. It combines two problem solving approaches that significantly contribute to a CO2-neutral building sector: the utilisation of wood as a building material and the regional realisable modular construction system. Additionally, a comprehensive energy supply concept was developed that helps to reduce energy demand to a minimum and is at the same time in tune with the needs of the users. Rhomberg is also changing the development and planning process with his disruptive approach: Turning and anchor point of the new building will be an interdisciplinary, digital, living platform – a kind of cybernetic table for everything involving the topics “planning, erecting and operation” of buildings. With these developments, construction, as we know it, is completely modified and turned on its head.

Hubert Rhomberg

Chapter 27. Protect Resources, Strengthen the Economy: Good Examples for Resource Efficiency in Industry and Handicraft Businesses

A lack of knowledge about internal business flows, lack of a cross-company perspective, dependence on customer requirements and the lack of time, personnel and financial resources, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises, mean that the advantages of the resource-efficient economy are not sufficiently exploited. Laws and regulations alone can not provide a remedy, and instead entrepreneurial ambition must be aroused. The experiences and successes of the work of the Duisburg Effizinez-Agentur NRW show that this is possible. Concrete and individually tailored support offers as well as the intensive cooperation of all participants often lead to a start-up in entrepreneurial activity. The public authorities can provide decisive support here, as the NRW Ministry of the Environment has shown with the establishment of the Effizienz-Agentur NRW. In the following we will outline how this work is carried out and explain the results by illustrating some examples.

Peter Jahns

Chapter 28. Chemical Leasing: A Business Model to Drive Resource Efficiency in the Supply Chain

Chemicals are indispensable in our daily life and most economic sectors depend on chemical supplies for the manufacturing of their goods. However, the use and production of chemicals is a resource intensive business that faces growing global demand. An efficient use of resources by the chemical industry and downstream chemical users can therefore significantly reduce the overall resource consumption in the economy and contribute to sustainable development. Thus, increasing the sustainable use of chemicals supports the achievement of international political objectives such as the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.In order to achieve the sustainability in the use of chemicals, innovative and service-oriented business models are needed that provide incentives for companies to reduce their chemical consumption. Chemical Leasing offers such an approach. In this business model, the functions performed by the chemical serve as the unit of payment and chemical suppliers and users work together to optimize chemical use in fulfilling the function. Due to the service-based approach, chemical consumption is a cost factor for the business partners, which they aim to minimize. This induces economic benefits that are shared among the business partners. Moreover, environmental and health benefits are generated since fewer chemicals are applied, stored, handled and produced, and fewer emissions are released into environmental compartments. In the upstream supply chain, reduced chemical demand results in tremendous savings of raw materials and energy for the production of the chemicals. Hence, large resource and cost saving potentials are seen with the application of Chemical Leasing in a variety of branches.

Reinhard Joas, Veronika Abraham, Anke Joas

Chapter 29. Resource Efficiency for the Manufacturing Industries – A Holistic Approach

Resource efficiency is a crucial factor for the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry in Germany. It provides a significant potential for cost reduction and helps companies to become more independent from the supply and cost risks related to the international raw material markets. Resource efficient manufacturing is also a key element for achieving the international and national goal for climate protection. The Federal German Climate Protection Plan demands an industrial CO2 reduction of 50% by 2030 (see German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety BMUB. Klimaschutzplan 2050. Accessed 3 Jan 2017, 2016a). This can only be achieved by the continuous implementation of more resource efficient technologies and processes. To this end, national and international norms and standards can contribute significantly to the dissemination of best available technologies.To our knowledge, the new VDI Standard 4800, published in 2016, is the first technical standard for defining, evaluating and calculating resource efficiency (see VDI 4800 Part 1, Ressourceneffizienz – Methodische Grundlagen, Prinzipien und Strategien. Beuth Verlag GmbH, Berlin, 2016). The standard contains 37 strategies and measures to increase resource efficiency in companies. They address the improvement of in-house company procedures, adapting or changing technologies in the production processes or new approaches in the product development process.The sector and technology-specific services offered by the VDI Centre for Resource Efficiency (VDI ZRE) address this complexity in all its aspects. In addition to supplying extensive information and examples, companies are offered cross-regional informative events and qualification courses for successful material and energy efficiency strategies. VDI ZRE furthermore cooperates closely with German state and regional agencies and authorities, Chambers of Commerce, Chambers of Trade and many related associations.

Werner Maass, Christof Oberender, Martin Vogt

Chapter 30. Towards a Resource Efficient and Greenhouse Gas Neutral Germany 2050

As a study by the German Environment Agency (UBA) already demonstrated, a greenhouse-gas neutral Germany in 2050 is technical possible, which is an important and necessary first step. However, possible synergies and trade-offs must be examined in order to put these technical options into practice to facilitate a greenhouse-gas neutral economy and society. Especially the resources needed for the transition and for the maintenance of the new system must and will be considered as well as the society that will have to run and maintain such a transformed system. Bearing this in mind, a comprehensive policy mix needs to be designed. In this respect the new study “Greenhouse Gas Neutral and Resource Efficient Germany” will provide the scientific basis for the development of an integrated policy mix that systematically makes use of synergies and addresses conflicting targets and trade-offs. The fundamental setting of this new study is described below.

Jens Günther, Harry Lehmann, Ullrich Lorenz, David Pfeiffer, Katja Purr

Chapter 31. Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ as a Catalyst for Societal Transformation? Critical Remarks and Presentation of an Inspired Exemplary Project as a Driver for Sustainability

There is a broad consensus among scientists and society that a “Great Transformation” towards more sustainability is of existential urgency for saving the living conditions of our planet. Nonetheless, the global political and economic reactions and efforts have been insufficient. In this context, the encyclical letter “Laudato Si’ – on care for our common home” of Pope Francis (2015a)—in which he calls for a more sustainable lifestyle and economy and more social justice—received worldwide attention from all sectors of society with many welcoming the encyclical almost enthusiastically. Therefore, it seems worthy to explore the relevance, transformative potential and impact of the statements of a religious leader. In this chapter, we will attempt to answer the question: can the encyclical Laudato Si’ act as a catalyst for a global societal transformation towards more sustainability? First, we give some critical remarks and observations about this question, set it in the context of sustainability research and invite a broader discussion.Drawing from sustainability science we begin by giving some remarks on transformations, their drivers and characteristics. For this we use the flagship report “World in transition” by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU 2011b). Second, we present and reflect on the encyclical. We start with some general remarks on the document, continue with a presentation of statements on sustainable resource use and then comment on the question of “Laudato Si’” as a potential catalyst for transformation. Third, we present the project “Laudato Si’ – The papal encyclical in discourse for a Great Transformation” of the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (KU) and the Federation of German Scientists (VDW). The project takes the encyclical and its statements on socio-ecological sustainability as a starting point. Through transdisciplinary, communicative and scientific-educative activities the project re-contextualizes the statements of the encyclical in the scientific field and thereby acts as a sustainability transformative driver, building a bridge between religion and science in the field of transformation. It is shown that the encyclical has considerable transformative relevance. Some impacts can already be noticed, even if long-term and global impacts are difficult to determine, yet.

Ulrich Bartosch, Christian Meier, Till Weyers


Weitere Informationen