Virtual Networking without a Backpack? Resource Consumption of Information Technologies

Virtual Networking without a Backpack? Resource Consumption of Information Technologies

Justus von Geibler (Wuppertal Institute, Germany), Michael Kuhndt (Wuppertal Institute, Germany) and Volkar Turk (Wuppertal Institute, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-949-6.ch246
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Abstract

This chapter concentrates on the environmental impacts of the increasing use of the Internet. It highlights that the Internet and Internet applications are far from being purely virtual, but are clearly linked to the use of natural resources. With the growth of the Internet’s infrastructure there is a seemingly inevitable increase in the resource consumption for the production of electronic equipment and its electricity consumption. A number of conclusions can be made regarding the minimisation of environmental risks and maximisation of ebusiness’ potential to dematerialise. The presented findings are mainly based on findings derived from research within the Digital Europe project, which was conducted as the first pan-European study of the social and environmental impacts and opportunities of e-commerce and information communication technologies. Supported by the European Commission, the project has been led by the research organisations Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in Italy, Forum for the Future in UK and the Wuppertal Institute in Germany.

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