The promotion of sustainable development in the information and communication technology sector in South Africa

Louw, Roelof (2007-03)

Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. Dept. of Graduate School of Business.

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The World Commission of Environment and Development defines sustainability as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This statement forms the basis on which the study of sustain ability and sustainable development is built. The importance and impact of this statement was only accepted some half a century ago although the main cause for this statement, capitalism, is still the foundation of many economic systems today which has been in existence since almost three centuries ago. The original approach to sustainable development was obligatory acceptance of cleaning up excessive pollution. The culprits were heavy industries which had a direct dependence on natural resources and were directly responsible for excessive pollution. From this approach, sustainable development evolved to pollution prevention and later a sustainable vision through clean technologies. This evolution is described by the Sustainable Value Framework formulated by Stuart L. Hart. Since the 1990's light industries as well as indirect polluters and users of resources also acknowledged and accepted the call to sustainable development. This study addresses the promotion of sustainable development in South African ICT organisations through the definition of a corporate sustainable development programme (CSDP). The sustainable development performance of an organisation can be determined by assessment of the specific measuring instruments and available reporting on the subject. The most relevant measuring instruments for ICT organisations were identified as: the GRI G3 guidelines, the King II Report and the JSE / SRI Index with the GeSI as the appropriate body governing the ICT sector's sustainable development performance. An analysis of sustainable development reporting of South African ICT organisations, based on these measuring instruments, revealed the suitability of these instruments to gauge the triple bottom line objectives of sustainable development. As the triple bottom line objectives form part of the foundation of a CSDP the identified measurement instruments can in part be used to report on CSDP performance. This research report suggests that the triple bottom line measurement is not sufficient to measure the effectiveness of a CSDP as an effective CSDP requires integration into the business plan and strategy of an organisation. Measurement of the extent of business plan and strategy integration is therefore required. The ICT sector must accept the significance of the indirect and cross-sector roles in sustainable development and incorporate this as part of a CSDP. The ICT sector contributes mostly by enabling cross-sector sustainable development initiatives such as the slowing down of climate change. Furthermore, an leT organisation should employ its corporate governance framework to implement an integrated CSDP plan. Within the South African context of sustainable development a CSDP must consider the accelerated growth and transformation objectives while maintaining sustainable development objectives.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Wereld Kommissie van Omgewingsake en Ontwikkeling definieer volhoudbaarheid as "bevrediging van die behoeftes van die huidige sonder om die foekomsfige generasie se vermoe om hul behoeftes fe bevredig fe kompromiseer." Hierdie stelling vorm die basis van die studie oor volhoudbaarheid en volhoudbare ontwikkeling. Die belangrikheid en impak van hierdie stelling is eers ongeveer 'n halwe eeu gelede aanvaar terwyl die hoofoorsaak vir die stelling, kapitalisme, steeds die basis vorrn van vele ekonomiese stelsels vandag wat sedert ongeveer drie eeue gelede bestaan. Die oorspronklike benadering tot volhoudbare ontwikkeling het behels die aanvaarding van die verpligting om besoedeling skoon te maak. Die oortreders was swaar industrie wie direk van natuurlike hulpbronne afhanklik was en wie direk verantwoordelik was vir oormatige besoedeling. Hierdie benadering het ontwikkel tot besoedelingsvoorkoming and later 'n volhoudbare strategie wat gebasseer word op skoon tegnologie. Hierdie ontwikkeling word beskryf in die Volhoudbare Waarde Raamwerk wat deur Stuart L. Hart geformuleer is. Sedert die 1990's het die ligte industri!! en ook die indirekte besoedelaars en gerbruikers van natuurlike bronne die raep na volhoudbare ontwikkeling erken en aanvaar. Hierdie stu die spreek die bevordering van volhoudbare ontwikkeling in Suid Afrikaanse informasie en kommunikasie tegnologie (IKT) organisasies aan , deur middel van die definisie van 'n korporatiewe volhoudbare ontwikkelingsprogram (KVOP). 'n Organisasie se vertoning ten opsigte van volhoudbare ontwikkeling kan bepaal word deur na die spesfieke meetinstrumente en beskikbare verslaggewing random die onderwerp te kyk. Die mees relevante metingsinstrumente vir IKT organisasies is vasgestel as: die GRI G3 riglyne, die King II Verslag en die JSE I SRI Indeks met die GeSI as die aangewese organisasie wat die IKT sektor se volhoudbare ontwikkeling bestuur. 'n Analise van die volhoudbare ontwikkeling verslaggewing in Suid Afrikaanse IKT organisasies, gebasseer op die genoemde meetingsinstrumente, wys die toepaslikheid van hierdie meetingsinstrumente om die prestasie op die drievoudige bodemlyndoelwitte van volhoudbare ontwikkeling aan te duL Hierdie doelwitte maak ook deel uit van 'n KVOP. In hierdie navorsingsverslag word die veronderstelling gemaak dat die drievoudige bodemlynmeeting nie aileen voldoende is om die effektiewiteit van 'n KVOP te bepaal nie, aangesien 'n effektiewe KVOP die integrasie in die besigheidsplan en strategie van 'n organisasie behels. Meeting van die streking van besigheidsplan en strategie is ook dus nodig. Die IKT sektor moet die belangrikheid aanvaar van indirekte en kruissektor rol in volhoudbare ontwikkeling en dit as dee I van 'n KVOP inkorporeer. Die IKT sektor dra die meeste by tot volhoudbare ontwikkeling deur ander sektore in staat te stel om volhoudbare ontwikkeling inisiatiewe te beaefen soos byvoorbeeld die vertraging van klimaatsverandering. Verder, 'n IKT organisasie moet die korporatiewe bestuursraamwerk gebruik as die implementeringsplatvorm vir 'n ge·integreerde KVOP. Binne die Suid Afrikaanse konteks van volhoudbare ontwikkeling moet 'n KVOP ook die versnelde groei en transformasie doelwitte in ag neem terwyl volhoudbare ontwikkelingsdoelwitte onderhou word.

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