IT for green and green IT: A proposed typology of eco-innovation

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Journal Article

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Ecological Economics

Year:

2011

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This article is in support of the development of an ecological economic framework. It discusses, from an interdisciplinary perspective, the increasing use of green IT and their applications (IT for green). IT and sustainable development have had a concomitant rise and reach. The future world emerging from their respective interpretations enables, in both cases, a shift from today's questionable industrial capitalism towards postindustrial capitalism. This paper addresses the following questions: What is known about green IT and IT for green? Are smart solutions (buildings, energy grids, transport) always beneficial to an ecological economy? And, if so, in what ways? In the first part of this article, we analyse the economic, social and environmental impact of IT and argue for the need for green applications of green IT in order to achieve sustainable outcomes. The second part focuses on the managerial dimension of eco-innovation theory and presents one of the distinctive features of green applications of green IT: the collective organisation of innovation. A typology of eco-innovation aimed at reconciling IT development and green growth is then proposed explicitly addressing four kinds of changes towards sustainable development: technological, social, institutional and organisational innovation.