Modeling the Effects of ICT on Environmental Sustainability: Revisiting a System Dynamics Model Developed for the European Commission

  • Mohammad Ahmadi AchachloueiEmail author
  • Lorenz M. Hilty
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 310)


This chapter revisits a System Dynamics model developed in 2002 with the aim of exploring the future impacts of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on environmental sustainability in the EU, which then consisted of 15 countries. The time horizon of the study was 20 years (2000–2020). We analyze the results in light of empirical data that is now available for 2000–2012. None of the three scenarios that were developed by experts to specify the external factors needed to run the model were realistic from today’s point of view. If the model is re-run with more realistic input data for the first half of the simulation period, however, the main results regarding the impact of ICT remain qualitatively the same; they seem to be relatively robust implications of the causal system structure, as it is represented in the model. Overall, the impacts of ICT for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental burdens for 2020 tend to be slightly stronger if the simulation is based on the empirical data now available.


Information and communication technology Environmental impact Sustainable development Information society Socioeconomic modeling and simulation System dynamics Prospective technology assessment 



The authors would like to thank Empa, KTH (Center for Sustainable Communications), and Vinnova, which made this work possible as a part of the first author’s Ph.D. project.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Ahmadi Achachlouei
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Lorenz M. Hilty
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Environmental Strategies Research FMSKTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Centre for Sustainable Communications CESCKTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and TechnologySt. GallenSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of InformaticsUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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