The Many Faces of Green IT

The Many Faces of Green IT

Shun Cai (Xiamen University, China), Xi Chen (Zhejiang University, China) and Indranil Bose (Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, India)
DOI: 10.4018/jbdcn.2012040104
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The importance of sustainable development has been widely recognized by people, society, governments, and the business world. Green information technology (IT) has therefore become one of the latest considerations to improve the environmental sustainability of a business. Yet, as important as this term is, it is being used in so many different ways that it might lose meaning altogether. It is important to clarify the different meanings of green IT to understand how to pursue it better as a business, economic and social objective. Four different perspectives on green IT, and the benefits and barriers of green IT strategy adoption are reviewed and discussed in this article.
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Perspectives On Green It

Green Sourcing Perspective

Green IT implies the practice of environmentally preferable IT purchasing. This involves adoption of sourcing practices such as analysis of the environmental footprint of an IT hardware supply chain, evaluation of the green track record of software and IT services providers, incorporating green issues (such as recyclable design and packaging) in vendor evaluation, and inclusion of social concerns (such as use of child labor and presence of harmful materials in IT supply chain) in IT procurement decisions. It also covers an assessment of the environmental performance of products such as the adoption of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment tool. This idea has been integrated in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and logistics social responsibility (LSR) frameworks (Carter & Jennings, 2002a, 2002b, 2004) as activities of a socially responsible organization.

This is of special importance for manufacturers in Asia because Asia will be a center point of the world’s manufacturing activities in the next couple of decades, and this will bring about substantial environmental burdens (Rao, 2002). In fact, in the past two decades, many Chinese manufacturing firms have lost international orders due to the failure in meeting the requirements of environment or safety standards and thus this issue becomes critical for many manufacturing firms.

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