The Ecology of the New Economy: Sustainable Transformation of Global Information, Communications and Electronics Industries

A revolution is taking place in the development of global information and communications technologies. In slightly more than a decade, the World Wide Web has gone from the idea of an obscure English scientist to a consumer-oriented technology system with an expected one billion users by 2005. The technologies that enable this to happen are advancing rapidly, which is leading to both an unprecedented number of start-up companies and a host of innovative new alliances between companies. The growth has been so rapid and unexpected that little research and analysis has yet been done on what impact this transformation has had or will have on the ability of companies to meet the global sustainability challenge. As environmental strategy has traditionally been portrayed in terms of risk cutting and resource efficiency, there is a danger that critical business issues such as information technology, R&D and e-commerce development are examined in isolation from the wider sustainable business perspective. An important objective of the book is to explore, document and raise awareness of sustainability concerns arising from the emerging global information economy. The information economy is defined in the broadest sense possible, including software, hardware, telecommunication - traditional and wireless - and advanced communication technologies. Some of the key issues and questions that are examined include: Case studies on how and to what degree sustainability concerns are being integrated into the business model of electronic, telecommunication and firms The relationship between the diffusion of information and communication technologies and the energy and resource intensity of companies The role of information and communication technologies in the shaping of policies for sustainability, its impacts on sustainable or unsustainable lifestyles and its implications for the interaction between companies and other actors Corporations and the global digital divide The Ecology of the New Economy will be of interest to academics, governments, businesses, and non-governmental groups who are trying to understand the linkages and relationship between the two of our greatest global challenges: the information revolution and environmental sustainability.