Exploring the Environmental Impacts of the E-merging Digital Economy: Towards an Informational Ecology for the Greening of Electronic Commerce

EPA Grant Number: R827582
Title: Exploring the Environmental Impacts of the E-merging Digital Economy: Towards an Informational Ecology for the Greening of Electronic Commerce
Investigators: Sui, Daniel Z.
Institution: Texas A & M University
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: October 1, 1999 through September 30, 2000
Project Amount: $69,777
RFA: Futures: Detecting the Early Signals (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water , Sustainability , Land and Waste Management , Ecosystems , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration

Description:

The objective of this project is to unpack the paradoxical relationship between the digital economy and the environment by addressing three key questions: 1. To what extent and under what circumstances, is the electronic delivery of goods and services going to substitute, complement, or synergistically integrated with traditional ways of doing business? 2. What are the environmental consequences, measured in terms of energy/material consumption and waste production, of using the Internet to deliver information-based products or services? 3. What are the environmental consequences, measured in terms of energy/material consumption and waste production, of using the Internet to facilitate the retailing of tangible goods and products?

Approach:

By extending previous works in industrial ecology, this project develops an informational ecology approach as the guiding analytic framework. Detailed environmental life-cycle analysis (LCA), including inventory, impact, and improvement assessment, will be conducted for both the digital delivery of information-based products and the retails sale of tangible products over the Internet.

Expected Results:

EPA should expect a ground-breaking development in information ecology - a new conceptual and analytical framework that can be operationalized in practice to systematically examine the environmental impacts of the emerging digital economy. This research will also provide recommendations to EPA on how to conduct environmental audit for electronic commerce and to companies doing cyber-businesses how to create a synergy between industrial metabolism and information processing to increase their eco-efficiency of all their operations.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 17 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Environmental consequences of E-commerce, Information Ecology, Environmental Policies for the Digital Economy.., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Economics and Business, Ecology and Ecosystems, Exp. Research/future, Social Science, Futures, emerging environmental problems, electronic commerce, socio-economic changes, information ecology, environmental policy, exploratory research, energy consumption, environmental regulations, information technology, digital economy, public policy

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report