Toward a Conceptual Model for Sustainability and Greening through Information Technology Management

Toward a Conceptual Model for Sustainability and Greening through Information Technology Management

A.T. Jarmoszko (Central Connecticut State University, USA), Marianne D’Onofrio (Central Connecticut State University, USA), Joo Eng Lee-Partridge (Central Connecticut State University, USA) and Olga Petkova (Central Connecticut State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-531-5.ch011
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Abstract

This study describes a conceptual approach to greening and sustainability through Information Technology management. The authors reviewed existing research and publications on the topic of greening, and concluded that while much has been written about ways to go green, much less are available on guidelines to help gauge the degree of greening efforts. To help alleviate this shortcoming, the authors propose a model–called the Greening through Information Technology Model (GITM)–based on the framework of Capability Maturity Model. The authors are currently in the process of developing questions to be used for each aspect of the greening management to determine the GITM level that an organization is in.
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Background: Sustainability And Greening

The terms sustainability and greening are often used interchangeably; however, the terms are not synonymous. The topic of sustainability has been of interest to various disciplines for many years and as a concept has had many definitions. In a general sense, sustainability is the ability to maintain a certain process or state indefinitely. In recent years, the concept has been applied to living organisms and systems. When applied to the human community, the most widely accepted definition has been that proposed by (Brundtland, 1987) who defines the concept of sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” The interdependency of nations requires that sustainability become the goal of all nations if the needs of present and future generations are to be met. Sustainability is a multifaceted concept. It rests on three pillars: the economy, the environment, and society. Thus, the achievement of sustainability requires interventions in these three areas.

Greening is one aspect of sustainability which typically focuses on environmental measures (Ivanovich, 2008). Efforts to recycle and reuse materials, to reduce if not eliminate toxic components or to responsibly design products or industrial processes are examples of greening policies. Even though the concept of greening is not immediately connected to costs, greening is often about reducing consumptions and therefore reducing costs.

Greening requires interventions by both governments and organizations. From this perspective, governmental actions through legislation, regulations, and executive orders can provide a top-down approach to impact the achievement of greening and sustainability while organizations by greening through IT management can provide a bottom-up approach to implement governmental actions (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Top-down and bottom-up approaches to greening

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