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The Ecology of the New Economy
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The Ecology of the New Economy

Sustainable Transformation of Global Information, Communications and Electronics Industries 

Jacob Park, University of Maryland, USA; and Nigel Roome, Erasmus University, Netherlands
May 2002   283 pp   234 x 156 mm  
hardback   ISBN 978-1-874719-47-2   £40.00  

Review copies   Inspection copies

"Offers opportunities, challenges and perspectives in the relationship of ICCE with ecology and economy. Tremendously stimulating; touching a multitude of issues which are under hot debate in the industry. Will ICCE simply happen or is there a choice? Stirring, intriguing and helpful!"
Professor Ab Stevels

A 'revolution' is taking place in the development of global information and communications technologies. In slightly more than a decade, the World Wide Web has gone from the idea of an obscure English scientist to a consumer- oriented technology system with an expected one billion users by 2005. The technologies that enable this to happen are advancing rapidly, which is leading to both an unprecedented number of start-up companies and a host of innovative new alliances between companies.

The growth has been so rapid and unexpected that little research and analysis has yet been done on what impact this transformation has had or will have on the ability of companies to meet the global sustainability challenge.

As environmental strategy has traditionally been portrayed in terms of risk cutting and resource efficiency, there is a danger that critical business issues such as information technology, R&D and e-commerce development are examined in isolation from the wider sustainable business perspective.

An important objective of the book is to explore, document and raise awareness of sustainability concerns arising from the emerging global information economy. The information economy is defined in the broadest sense possible, including software, hardware, telecommunication - traditional and wireless - and advanced communication technologies.

Some of the key issues and questions that are examined include:

  • Case studies on how and to what degree sustainability concerns are being integrated into the business model of electronic, telecommunication and firms
  • The relationship between the diffusion of information and communication technologies and the energy and resource intensity of companies
  • The role of information and communication technologies in the shaping of policies for sustainability, its impacts on sustainable or unsustainable lifestyles and its implications for the interaction between companies and other actors
  • Corporations and the global digital divide

Ecology of the New Economy will be of interest to academics, governments, businesses, and non-governmental groups who are trying to understand the linkages and relationship between the two of our greatest global challenges: the information revolution and environmental sustainability.


We need to understand better how information and communication technologies can help us vector the three great waves of globalisation — markets, information and civil society — to a sustainable path. This book will help point the way.
Jonathan Lash, President, The World Resources Institute

Technological change is an too-often-neglected issue in policies and thinking directed at sustainable development, while new technologies will be crucial and have to be put in the centre. Park and Roome’s book takes up this challenge and explores lucidly many important aspects and ideas. It is imperative that leaders and policy-makers join this exploration.
Johan Schot, Co-Founder of the Greening of Industry Network and Director of the Foundation for the History of Technology

...a wealth of information! This books offers opportunities, challenges and perspectives in the relation of ICCE with ecology and economy. Tremendously stimulating; touching a multitude of issues which are under hot debate in the industry. Will ICCE simply happen or is there a choice? Stirring, intriguing and helpful!
Professor Ab Stevels, Senior Advisor, Environmental Competence Centre, Philips Consumer Electronics

It is hard for a general reader to see how the complex issues of sustainability, globalisation and ICCE technologies relate to each other. This book helps enormously to disentangle and then reassemble them in a digestible order — a very useful contribution indeed.
Christine Loh, CEO of an independent, non-profit public policy think-tank, Civic Exchange, and a former member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council

The Ecology of the New Economy provides the most thoughtful, balanced perspective yet on the environmental impacts of the information revolution. This book will be tremendously valuable to regulators, corporate decision-makers, investors and non-government organisations interested in sustainability.
Bruce Paton, Director, The Silicon Valley Center for Innovation and Sustainability


This book is an informative read and well recommended. It provides the reader with current information and diverse analyses from the worlds of research, business and government/policy makers on this increasingly topical issue. Further it provides some inspirational thoughts for integrating sustainability into the digital economy.
Environmental Assessment Policy and Management

Wow! This book will convince even the most hard-nosed bean counter ... that environmental stewardship, green thinking and sustainable development have a place in the global arena of communication,, e-commerce and information technology. All the sections make extensive use of case studies and examples which help to give a reality perspective which is crucial for the skeptic and the conservative.
Eagle Bulletin

The volume provides an excellent snapshot of the dot-com era and its long-term effects on corporate citizenship theory and practice ... The authors clearly believe that understanding the evolution and importance of the digital economy requires macro- and microanalysis along natural, digital and competitive domains. Sustainable e-business practice demands a competent grasp of the interdependencies among these realms.
The Journal of Corporate Citizenship

... the doomsayers predict ICCE technologies will fuel further need for electricity, whereas the optimists project net savings. The scholarship encompassed by The Ecology of the New Economy suggests the truth is probably somewhere in between and is largly dependent on how these new technologies are deployed and whether their deployment is guided by sustainable development considerations... The Ecology of the New Economy is an important work in beginning that debate.
The Journal of Industrial Ecology


Jonathan Lash, President, World Resources Institute

Introduction. Atom to bits: e-sustainability in the global economy

Jacob Park, University of Maryland, USA, and Nigel Roome, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
This item available in PDF format for free download     Download

Part 1: Sustainability challenges and implications of a global information economy

1. Sustainable business strategies in the Internet economy

Klaus Fichter, Borderstep: Institution for Innovation and Sustainability, Germany

2. E-logistics and the natural environment

Joseph Sarkis, Clark University, USA, Laura Meade, University of Dallas, USA, and Srinivas Talluri, Michigan State University, USA

3. Greening the digitised supply net

Michael Totten, Center for Environmental Leadership in Business, Conservation International, USA

4. ethics: e-business and sustainability

James Wilsdon, Demos, UK

5. Practising corporate citizenship in a global information economy

Duane Windsor, Rice University, USA

6. The Internet and sustainability reporting: improving communication with stakeholders

William B. Weil and Barbara Winter-Watson, Environmental Resources Management, USA

Part 2: E-business strategies for a sustainable world

7. Is e-commerce sustainable? Lessons from Webvan

Chris Galea, St Francis Xavier University, Canada; Steve Walton, Emory University, USA

8. Information technology, sustainable development and developing nations

James R. Sheats, Hewlett-Packard Co., USA
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9. The environmental impact of the new economy: Deutsche Telekom, telecommunications services and the sustainable future

Markus Reichling and Tim Otto, Deutsche Telekom AG, Germany

10. Environmental impacts of telecommunications services: two life-cycle analysis studies

Manfred Zurkirch, Swisscom Ltd, Switzerland, and Inge Reichart, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research
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11. Exploring the global–local axis: telecommunications and environmental sustainability in Japan

Brendan Barrett, United Nations University/Institute of Advanced Studies, Japan, and Ichiro Yamada, NTT Lifestyle and Environmental Technology Laboratories, Japan
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12. Product-oriented environmental management: the case of Xerox Europe

Frank de Bakker, Vrije Universiteit, the Netherlands, and David Foley, Xerox Europe, UK

Part 3: Old-economy concerns in a new-economy world

13. Information and communications technologies: boon or bane to sustainable development?

Josephine Chinying Lang, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

14. Information and communications technologies and business travel: environmental possibilities, problems and implications

Peter Arnfalk, Lund University, Sweden

15. How fabulous fablessness? Environmental challenges of economic restructuring in the semiconductor industry

Jan Mazurek, Progressive Policy Institute, USA
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16. Micropower: electrifying the digital economy

Seth Dunn, Worldwatch Institute, USA
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17. Extended producer responsibility and the European electronics industry

Lassi Linnanen, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland

18. Sustainable trade in electronics: the case of the Indian components sector

Mohammad Saqib, Yashika Singh and Ritu Kumar, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, India


Jacob Park is a research scholar in the Harrison Program on the Future Global Agenda, University of Maryland, USA, and a senior research consultant specialising in Japanese and Asian equities for corporate governance and socially responsible investment, Friends Ivory & Sime. A fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, a working interim group member of the Greening of Industry Network and a member of Center for Environmental Citizenship’s board of directors, he will become an assistant professor in the business and economic department at Green Mountain College (Vermont, USA) in the fall of 2002.

Nigel Roome is the Head of Department and Chair of Sustainable Enterprise and Transformation, Erasmus Centre for Sustainable Development and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. He is also the Chair of the Information and Communication Technologies Project, Industrial Transformation Programme, International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environment Change.