Title: Reducing the natural resource intensity of private and organisational consumption: the potential of ICT and service innovations

Authors: Eva Heiskanen, Mikko Jalas, Paivi Timonen

Addresses: National Consumer Research Centre, P.O. Box 5, FIN-00531, Helsinki, Finland. ' Helsinki School of Economics, P.O. Box 1210, FIN-00101, Helsinki, Finland. ' National Consumer Research Centre, P.O. Box 5, FIN-00531, Helsinki, Finland

Abstract: The article summarises the findings of two research projects evaluating the potential of ICT and service innovations to reduce natural resource use. The focus is on two issues: (1) the potential adoption of eco-efficient innovations and (2) the likelihood that these innovations, when adopted, will lead to less natural resource use in the national economy. The innovations studied include innovations for the workplace, innovations in grocery retailing, and innovations in the kitchen. Our studies indicate that such innovations can be eco-efficient when well-designed, but they do not self-evidently replace existing products and activity patterns. Furthermore, time use patterns indicate that the information society involves mutually contradictory patterns: people use more time for less energy-intensive activities (such as the media), but also pack more energy intensity into existing activities. We thus consider ICT and service innovations promising, but not final solutions to reducing natural resource use.

Keywords: natural resources; consumption reduction; ICT; services; innovation; adoption; dynamics; information technology; communications; sustainable information society; sustainability; sustainable development; eco-efficient innovations; workplace; grocery retailing; kitchen; time use; IT leasing; facility management; videoconferencing; car sharing; e-commerce; electronic commerce; smart appliances; novel protein sources.

DOI: 10.1504/PIE.2005.007820

Progress in Industrial Ecology, An International Journal, 2005 Vol.2 No.3/4, pp.453 - 474

Published online: 23 Sep 2005 *

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