The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of information and communication technology (ICT) for promoting environmental sustainability in a changing society…
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of information and communication technology (ICT) for promoting environmental sustainability in a changing society. Isolated studies exist, but few take a holistic view. Derived from a Marxian tradition, the authors propose Ecological World Systems Theory (WST) as a holistic framework to assess the environmental impact of ICT. The theory is adapted responding to theoretical critiques of absence of change, namely state-centrism and structuralism.
Theoretical study. Empirical examples derived from already published literature.
Ecological WST focuses on the unequal distribution of environmental degradation, sees technological development as a zero-sum game rather than cornucopia and holds that technology is often seen as a fetish in today ' s society. The findings are that popular discourses on ICT and sustainability are since the 1990s becoming increasingly cornucopian, while conditions in the ICT value chain are less cornucopian.
Theoretical contributions to Marxian critiques of ICT, with more environmental focus than earlier Marxian critiques, for example Fuchs’ work. Develop a theoretical framework for ICT and sustainability which could be compared with works of e.g. Hilty, Patrignani and Whitehouse. The work is mostly based on existing empirical studies, which is a limitation.
This theoretical framework implies that unequal environmental degradation in different parts of the world should be taken into account when assessing environmental impact, for example by means of LCA.
The framework brings together questions of environmental effects of ICT and global justice.
The authors apply a rarely discussed theoretical framework to ICT and environmental sustainability. By doing this the authors suggest how the discourses and the value chain of ICT is intrinsically tied to the world system.
This chapter analyses the multiple embeddedness of MNEs, and their participation in solving contemporary societal issues. We aim to increase understanding on the…
This chapter analyses the multiple embeddedness of MNEs, and their participation in solving contemporary societal issues. We aim to increase understanding on the relational processes and network dynamics present in MNEs’ participation in cross-sector partnerships.
Our study addresses the issue of the poor ecological state of the Baltic Sea and illustrates the early developments in cross-sector collaboration. We build on a single exploratory case study of the cooperation of one MNE (IBM) with an environmental NGO (BSAG) in Finland. We analyse how participation in the cross-sector collaboration manifests itself in the external and internal networks of the MNE.
We show that an initiative by the NGO to participate in environmental work was actively adopted within the MNE and led to network changes. These changes concerned both the activation of existing links and the establishment of new links with such actors as authorities and research institutes. The NGO acted as a catalyser and cultural mediator to create a bridge between the MNE and governmental actors.
There is a need to investigate cross-sector collaboration in other contexts – particularly from the perspective of MNEs and (international) business networks. Questions such as how do enduring (business and socio-political) relationships emerge from MNE’s participation in issue networks and how technology that has been developed to solve a specific societal issue may be translated into commercial solutions are especially promising. We also urge scholars to investigate the ties, texture and dynamics (including tensions) of business relationships with those of public actors and civil society.
Participation in cross-sector initiatives may grant an MNE a forerunner position in the creation of new sustainable markets and technologies. It may also create an opportunity to influence policymakers and build new socio-political networks. From the perspective of a subsidiary of an MNE, engagement with cross-sector partnerships may strengthen its voice within the MNE network.
Our study contributes to the understanding of the relationship dynamics between actors in cross-sector collaboration around a societal (environmental) issue. Our analysis illustrates the embeddedness of MNE networks, where actions in the regional and global networks (the representatives of the headquarters) overlap with and strengthen the local actions of the subsidiary.