Delphi Study Influence of Environmental Sustainability Initiatives on Information Systems dissertation

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Delphi Study: Influence of Environmental Sustainability Initiatives on Information Systems

Table of Contents (first draft)

Green IT

Current Methods and Solutions

Green IT and energy costs

Green It and Email Systems

Green IT and ICT

Green IT and ESS

Green IT and TPS

Green IT and DSS

Green IT and other support systems

Green IT and GHG reduction

Green IT and the Government Sector

Green IT and the Corporate Sector

Future Prospects of Green IT in the software industry

The paper focuses on how the implementation of 'Green' IT incentives can help an organization succeed as well as manage or increase the overall efficacy of energy costs. Hence, the primary focal topic for this study will be energy cost reduction using numerous 'green' IT strategies. The paper will thus look into how the inclusion of new and advanced software can help assist a company or desist it. The paper will thus include various aspects like the legislation on Green House Gas (GHG) and energy cost reductions in both the government and corporate sector as well as discuss how IT or software development can help companies in the future when dealing with energy cost reduction strategies.

The purpose of the study hence is not to research how new and modern software designs can assist organization. This requires further research because of the simple fact that while the governmental and corporate efforts are meant to further business activities, their impact on the community cannot go unchecked; while the new software can help the company achieve their corporate goals, they need to reduce their energy costs in order to initiate sustainable solutions. Hence, the main focus of this paper will be how the companies are able to utilize the Green IT structures to reduce their overall energy costs to attain successful sustainable solutions.

The purpose of this social research study is to understand and highlight the various energy cost reducing IT initiatives and sustainability solutions that currently exist. The solutions focused on in this paper will be those that can purely assist the modern corporate organizations and government entities within the Unites States to attain a balance between attaining the business objectives and becoming energy cost efficient. At this stage in the research, the green IT or environmentally supportive IT structures that will be included here are those that can help the organizations complete majority of the work with minimal time effort. The research, which first pointed out the need for this approach, and will be used extensively for support in this study, was the one conducted by IBM in 2010. Other significant and supporting studies include: Molla, 2009; Prattipati, 2010; Shah and McAninch (2010) amongst others. The addition that this study will make to the overall existing knowledge on the topic is that it will bring forth those strategies that will help numerous modern organizations avoid the standard mistakes that are made when applying modern green technology. The study will thus help organizations understand the different sectors where they can create opportunities of implementation while taking necessary precautions and simultaneously fulfilling their organizational objectives.

This paper will present literature review starting off by discussing the Green IT structure as it stands in the current society as well as its overall contribution in coordination with energy cost reductions, Green House Gas Emission Reduction, email systems, ESS, TPS and DSS. The last three aspects will remain the focal aspects for the paper.

Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure is defined as the multi-functional network of 'greenspaces' and inter-connecting green corridors in urban areas, the countryside in and around towns and rural settlements, and in the wider countryside. Green infrastructure is a natural life support system providing benefits for people and wildlife. It encompasses 'natural greenspaces' (colonised by plants and animals and dominated by natural processes) and man-made 'managed greenspaces' (urban parks and designed historic landscapes), as well as their many connections (footpaths, cycleways, green corridors and waterways). The provision of publicly accessible natural greenspace is a vital component in securing benefits for communities where this can be balanced with the needs of private landowners and biodiversity conservation objectives. There are a wide range of functions that green infrastructure can provide. These include:

• Active recreation, passive recreation and quiet enjoyment

• Sustainable transport and public rights of way

• Network, links and gateways

• Social venue/meeting place

• Cultural/event venue

• Education and training

• Heritage preservation

• Landscape and townscape structure

• Wildlife habitat and biodiversity

• Sustainable water and flood risk management, energy use and production and waste management

• Green produce and food production

• Integration of new and existing communities

• Shared experience of greenspace creation

Green infrastructure has a key role to play in improving the quality of life for communities throughout Greater Norwich. Investment in green infrastructure can provide important social, economic and environmental benefits, such as providing a high quality environment for businesses, addressing social deprivation issues and improving the health of local communities.

Green IT

You can barely move at the moment without being urged to make green changes to your lifestyle. And, at one level, doing so is very straightforward. It's relatively easy to cut travel, recycle your newspapers and glass or take a shower instead of a bath. And, indeed, the accumulated environmental impact of such actions is considerable. But, while these choices may be second nature to you as an individual, research conducted by Freeform Dynamics among almost 1,500 information professionals worldwide suggests that few organizations are motivated by green issues for their own sake.

When the benefits of changing to greener products or systems are expressed in terms of money, risk or brand, organizations start to sit up and take notice. The IT community -- as well as the rest of the world -- is becoming increasingly aware of the need for sustainable development that 'meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'. That quote comes from the first major report on the subject, 'Our Common Future', which was published by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 (often referred to as the Brundtland Report; see the link in Part V).

Current Methods and Solutions

Balancing the Benefits and Costs of Going Green

The reach of IT is wide, from a hand-held device such as a BlackBerry to a data centre; from office printers to building management. And every element provides an opportunity to reduce environmental harm. Sometimes the benefits accrue immediately and sometimes they take longer. Sometimes you need to change behavior and at other times you need a change in procurement or operational systems.

The trick is to balance any negative consequences of making changes against the practical benefits to the organization. Think about installing a wind turbine on an urban bungalow roof. Would the energy savings ever compensate for the environmental consequences of its manufacture?

Air Smiles: Transportation

If your business naturally involves a lot of air or road travel then you can achieve immediate savings and lessen your impact on the environment by trying to take fewer journeys and using electronic communication instead. Videoconferencing doesn't have to cost a fortune and it can repay its cost with the savings in long distance flights and hotel stays very quickly. It won't replace all face-to-face situations but videoconferencing is especially effective in smaller meetings of up to about 12 people, when the participants already know each other. Once installed, you can use it for those ad hoc meetings that oil the organizational wheels but would never be considered if travel were required. The same goes for the lower-tech, but no less useful, web meetings and webinars, where people can share content and interact with each other through their webcams and PC screens.

If home working or flexible working is possible, you can reduce the emissions associated with the daily commute and give staff a better lifestyle. Such flexibility tends to result in staff who are more content with their work-life balance (as home-working often fits in well around family life) and, as a consequence, tend to stay longer in their posts as well as being more productive.

Companies have found that they can cut desks, and therefore office space, heating, lighting, power and so on, when significant numbers of staff work away from the office for at least three days a week.

The whole idea of replacing physical movement with electronic communications like videoconferencing reduces environmental impacts, not to mention associated costs. This also applies to how you manage your business processes. Consider distributing information electronically rather than printing it first and then distributing it. This 'print on demand' approach saves transport and unnecessary copies, not to mention saving money!

Companies with transport and logistics operations can reduce emissions by using software applications to optimize routes and eliminate wasted journeys. Solutions can range from simple sat-nav devices to more complex transportation management systems which coordinate multiple vehicles and routes, saving both time and fuel, and providing more predictable…[continue]

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