Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Happy New Year!

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In this first post of 2011, I’d like to make three observations about information systems and environmental sustainability in the coming year.

  1. Sustainability Investment Drivers. In 2011, business drivers such as cost reduction, risk mitigation, reputation, and revenue enhancement will be key investment drivers for systems and services that enable firms to manage and transform energy and carbon management. Low-hanging fruit solutions will rule the day. At the same time, firms with strategic vision that can see beyond quarterly reports will separate themselves. See Section 3 beginning on page 30 of the 2010 PwC Global CEO Survey for supporting evidence.
  2. Actions Speak Louder than Words. While many in the media maintain the framing of climate change and impacts on humans as “an issue to debate,” global firms (subject to intense market pressures) are ramping up  operational and strategic initiatives that directly address probable future scenarios. Would firms make such substantial investments without  quantitative risk analysis of climate change and its opportunities and risks to their business?  See the CDP web site for details. Information systems for measurement, social networking and collaboration, analytics, etc., are core solutions.
  3. CIOs Get on Board: But How?. Chief information officers will have a choice: 1) react to pressures from the business to not only reduce their own energy/carbon emissions but also help other business units do so; or 2) proactively collaborate with business units to lead firm-wide energy/carbon emission reductions.

Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

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