The consumption of natural assets—materials, energy, water, etc—per unit of output.

There is a five-step sequence:

1. the derivation of products (e.g., usable materials, oil, collected water) from the available natural capital;

2. the production of goods from those products;

3. the services derived from the goods that have been produced;

4. the use made of those services; and

5. the consumer’s behaviour and way of life which determines his or her need for the service.

Each of these stages provides an opportunity for improvements in efficiency, which multiply up: for instance, a 40 percent improvement at each stage multiplies into a 92 percent improvement overall.


Related entries:

Lean Materials, Lean Energy.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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