Measuring the environmental impact of IT/IS solutions - A life cycle impact modelling approach

Autor(en): Stiel, Florian
Teuteberg, Frank 
Stichwörter: BUSINESS; CARBON; Computer Science; Computer Science, Interdisciplinary Applications; Conceptual framework; DESIGN SCIENCE; ENERGY; Engineering; Engineering, Environmental; Environmental Sciences; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; INFORMATION; Information systems; Information technology; Life cycle assessment; Life cycle inventory analysis; SCIENCE RESEARCH; SUSTAINABILITY; Symbiotic modelling; SYSTEMS; Water Resources
Erscheinungsdatum: 2014
Volumen: 56
Startseite: 94
Seitenende: 104
The academic community has already taken notice of the interactions between information technologies (IT), information systems (IS), business organizations and the environment. Despite the interest garnered, research and modelling approaches on the environmental impact of IT/IS are usually explored only through qualitative approaches. This paper introduces a way for researchers and practitioners to engage with the environmental impact of IT/IS in a more quantitative manner using flow based life cycle assessments (LCA). Distinct from other life cycle assessment studies, this research paper confirms that integration of information flows within life cycle inventory analysis can be both useful and viable. Our work presents a conceptual framework for flow-based LCA within the context of IT/IS consisting of possibilities for defining functional units, a meta model for building symbiotic inventory models, the use of established software tools and databases as well as concrete actions to apply our framework within simulation studies. We hope that better knowledge of the environmental impact of IT/IS solutions will facilitate an effort for more sustainable solutions. The framework was derived by literature review, design science research and evaluated via a simulation. (c) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 13648152
DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2013.12.014

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