The Precautionary Principle as a Framework for a Sustainable Information Society

Journal of Business Ethics 85 (3):493 - 505 (2009)
The precautionary principle (PP) aims to anticipate and minimize potentially serious or irreversible risks under conditions of scientific uncertainty. Thus it preserves the potential for future developments. It has been incorporated into many international treaties and pieces of national legislation for environmental protection and sustainable development. In this article, we outline an interpretation of the PP as a framework of orientation for a sustainable information society. Since the risks induced by future information and communication technologies (ICT) are social risks for the most part, we propose to extend the PP from mainly environmental to social subjects of protection. From an ethical point of view, the PP and sustainability share the principle of intergenerational justice, which can be used as an argument to preserve free space for the decisions of future generations. Applied to technical innovation and to ICT issues in particular, the extended PP can serve as a framework of orientation to avoid socio-economically irreversible developments. We conclude that the PP is a useful approach for: (i) policy makers to reconcile information society and sustainability policies and (ii) ICT companies to formulate sustainability strategies
Keywords decisions under uncertainty  ethics  information society  pervasive computing  precautionary principle  socio-economic irreversibility  sustainability  technology development
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10551-009-0214-x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Institutional Conditions of Corporate Citizenship.Ronald Jeurissen - 2004 - Journal of Business Ethics 53 (1-2):87-96.
Das Prinzip Verantwortung. Versuch einer Ethik für die technologische Zivilisation.Hans Jonas - 1983 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 37 (1):144-147.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index

Total downloads
195 ( #23,081 of 2,202,728 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
35 ( #4,859 of 2,202,728 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature