Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker – Keynote Speaker

One of the world’s most respected thinkers on resource efficiency

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Specialist Subjects

  • Resource Efficiency


  • German


Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker has served as Co-chair of the International Resource Panel (IRP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for sustainable resource management, since its inception in 2007. One of the world’s most respected thinkers on resource efficiency, his ground-breaking ‘Factor Four’ concept asserts that by using natural resources efficiently it is possible to halve our use of resources while doubling living standards. In 2008, he was joint winner of the Takeda award for Outstanding Achievement in the Application of New Engineering Intelligence.

As Co-Chair, Prof von Weizsäcker frequently represents the Panel at international fora, such as meetings of the UNEP’s Governing Council and meetings of the UN Commission for Sustainable Development. He also shares the Panel’s findings to experts and the public at conferences. He chairs the Working Group on Decoupling and attends meetings of the Biofuels and Metals Working Groups.

Prof von Weizsäcker is Founding President of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, which conducts applied sustainability research. He is a member of the Club of Rome, an interdisciplinary global think-tank that is recognised for its work on the relations between economic growth and the environment. He is the former Dean of the Donald Bren School for Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.

Formerly Chairman of the Study Commission on Economic Globalisation, as well as the Environment Committee, of the German Bundestag, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker served as Director of the UN Center for Science and Technology for Development and of the Institute for European Environmental Policy.

His most recent book, Factor Five (2009), argues that a five-fold increase in resource productivity is achievable and profitable under the right political and economic conditions. He has a PhD in biology from Freiburg University, Germany.

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