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Towards a Green IS Taxonomy
Helen Hasan
University of Wollongong, Australia

This taxonomy is intended as a “work in progress” to scope the area of Green IS and stimulate further development by IS scholars. This is not meant to be a review of the Green IS literature but rather an attempt to map out where Green IS has been and where it may go. The intended audience includes IS and non-IS academics, practitioners, business leaders and policy makers. The hope is to develop a general understanding and context of what we mean by Green IS, what it is and could or should be; maybe also whether we should continue to use the term “Green IS”. I believe that a document explaining Green IS in layman’s terms could be useful to complement the SIGGreen Statement.
Having been involved in the drafting of the SIGGreen Statement, I would like to first point out the following:
  • The SIGGreen Statement is based on the premise that, as IS professionals we have respect for Environmental Scientists and accept the work published in their peer-reviewed journals on the impact of human activity on our planet
  • This impact includes global warming but also other interconnected significant effects so the SIGGreen Statement uses the more general term “Environmental Change” rather than restricting our concerns to “Climate Change”
  • We should use our judgement to determine where we can mitigate or even reverse environmental degradation or where we must support effort to adapt to inevitable change.
  • For too long IS has been relatively insular and inward looking and in Green IS we have an opportunity to take on the social, corporate and global responsibility of the IS professions and apply our knowledge and expertise for the greater good.
  • While it is hoped that the AIS will one day endorse the Statement, it is meanwhile put forward by SIGGreen to provide a focus on environmentally responsible actions for IS professionals.
Below is my listing of the Green IS Taxonomy complied after much deliberation from my own reading and research of Green IS. I invite comment on the content and on how it could be presented.

A Draft Taxonomy of Green IS

Managing and Using Information
  • Using information systems to reliably inform the Public of the Science, Economics, Health, Politics of Environmental Change
  • Building Knowledge repositories of the findings of Environmental Change Research
  • Crowd sourcing of information and solutions on Environmental Change
  • e-Research on Environmental Change

Supporting and Changing Human Enterprises towards Environmental Sustainability
  • Green Business Process Management (BPM)
  • Monitoring and Recording the Environmental impact of Business Processes
  • Improving efficiency of business processes to lower GHG emissions

Decision support for the mitigation of, and adaptation to, Environmental Change
  • Modelling past, current and future scenarios
  • Integrating Knowledge across diverse Information Infrastructure

Changing human attitudes and behaviours through information:
  • Providing platforms for advocacy
  • Distribution and Presentation of the Information that can change behaviours
  • Monitoring changes of attitudes and behaviours
  • Evaluating the consequences and impacts of changed attitudes and behaviours

Resource Informatics
  • Energy Informatics - analysing, designing, and implementing systems to increase the efficiency of energy demand and supply systems
  • Other resources metals, minerals, water, forest, agriculture, soil, oceans etc

Meeting and collaborating virtually and hence reducing the need to travel
  • Viability, usability, effectiveness of collaboration tools
  • Concerns of security, identify, acceptability of boundary crossing activities
  • Demonstrating the challenges and merits of virtual, F2F and hybrid team activities

Promoting the Business Case for Green IS through information systems
  • Creating, verifying and presenting an authentic Green reputation
  • Demonstrating the business values of a Green reputation
  • Publicising occurrences of Green Washing

Managing Green IT through information systems designed to
  • Reduce the environmental impact over the Life-Cycle of ICT devices

Including Green IS in the Curriculum
  • In IS courses
  • In Environmental Courses

Stimulating Green IS Research
  • Sustaining quality research published within the IS Discipline
  • Wider Dissemination of Green IS Research Findings
  • Making a difference, influence policy from these findings

The connection of environmental responsibility to economic and social ones
  • Finding solutions to meet the disparate needs of developed and developing countries
  • Incorporating equity of access into Green IS activities