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Student Research Forum

Laura McCormick: "The Green Bottom Line: Can IT Triple it?"

 Laura McCormick's research poster

Research Category

Secondary-Data Research

Research Purpose

We argue that for a business to be profitable and to generate economic growth and employment, the bottom line must be green.  The green bottom line, also associated with the triple-bottom line, entails that businesses enhance their economic performance and sustainability by "greening" their social and environmental performance.  An innovative approach for organizations in their quest for environmental sustainability is the strategic and holistic use of information technology (IT). In this presentation, we focus on the critical role that a strategic approach to IT can play in facilitating and enabling sustainable procedures and processes in organizations.

Research Methodology

To establish support for the green IT agenda, a literature search of "green IT" and "sustainability" articles was conducted in trade journals, scholarly journals, and newspapers for the period between 2000 and 2010. The findings suggest that green IT positively affects company performance and competitiveness.

Research Conclusion

We conclude from our findings that a relationship exists between the strategic use of green IT and organizational sustainability, as well as organizational transformation. Information technology can make an important contribution to the greening of an organization if it is employed holistically. The benefits of properly implemented green IT can permeate an organization, positively affecting not only its green bottom line, but its social and economical sustainability as well. A strategic approach to IT has the potential to create an efficient supply chain, to streamline business processes effectively, and to transform customer service management resourcefully.

Research/Practical/
Social Implications

Scholars and practitioners need to begin to tackle the complex issues arising at the interface of IT, the organization, and social and environmental sustainability. Poor environmental practices result in many forms of waste, energy inefficiency, emission, and unused resources.  Poor social practices result in high turnover and slow economic growth. These inadequate practices subtract from the economic performance of companies and have a negative impact on society.  Hence, the strategic use of green IT should be included in our university curricula to involve business students in the sustainability process.  Also, business leaders and CIOs should have a more prominent role in driving the sustainability issue and in enabling speedy changes to business processes that support the green bottom line.