Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

CARBON FOOTPRINT IN KNOWLEDGE SECTOR: An Assessment from Cradle to Grave

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

CARBON FOOTPRINT IN KNOWLEDGE SECTOR: An Assessment from Cradle to Grave

Article excerpt


Carbon dioxide has taken a centre stage in the environmental arena. It was in the 19th century, scientists realized that gases in the atmosphere cause a "greenhouse effect" which affects the planet's temperature. At the turn of the century, various scientists like Arrhenius, Callendar and Keeling (as cited in "The Discovery of Global Warming", 2014) argued that the level of carbon dioxide was Climbing and raising global temperature and were of opinion it will result in global warming. With global warming dominating so many headlines today, it's no surprise that many of us are looking to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases our activities produce. Researchers, academicians, and decision makers - from around the globe are working hard to generate facts and figures relating to the carbon footprint of different industries. "The carbon footprint is a measure of the exclusive total amount of carbon dioxide emissions that is directly and indirectly caused by an activity or is accumulated over the life stages of a product. Machlup argued (as cited in "Education: The knowledge Industry", 2006) that knowledge spreading is indeed a definable industry and breaks it down into five sub industries with 52 branches including publishing, broadcasting, research and development. Thus knowledge industries can be seen as an opportunity to reduce pollution and environmentally harmful consumption of natural resources, if carbon reduction strategies are implemented as the data gathered from the available studies, pose some real causes for concern. According to the study "Environmental Trends and Climate Impacts: Findings from the U.S. Book Industry" (2008) co-sponsored by GPI and the Book Industry Study Group, found that tree harvesting and paper production and printing accounted for a total of 65% of the industry's carbon footprint, while a publisher's office operations accounted for less than 7% . According to Tyson Miller (as cited in "Publishing Industry", 2008) of the non-profit Green Press Initiative, the production of one book results in 8.85 pounds of carbon emissions. With climate change high up on the political and corporate agenda, the current study intends to bring into limelight the correlation between knowledge sector and its environmental implications.


The present study tried to sum up all the existing literature focusing on the carbon footprint of a few aspects of knowledge industry including the pulp and paper production, printing and publishing activities. The study also highlighted carbon footprint left during manufacturing of books, magazines etc. Since the ICT sector penetration in knowledge industries cannot be ignored in the present scenario. Hence the ICT sector's CO2 share has been given a little touch.


The major objectives are:

* Understanding the concept of carbon footprint of knowledge industry and its environmental implications.

* Highlighting the CO2 emission in knowledge distribution systems.

* To have a bird's eye view of various initiatives taken and strategies to be adopted to reduce the carbon emission from knowledge sector.


An extensive literature search was conducted to produce data relating to the CO2 emissions from various industries and activities associated with knowledge cycle. A detailed search on several databases - Library and Information Science technology Abstracts (LISTA), Scopus and statistical databases such as the International Energy Agency (IEA), Confederation of European Paper industries (CEPI), etc., was carried out for retrieving the literature.

Literature Review

Carbon footprint and knowledge sector

Human beings by nature have a craze to be at the top. They want to prosper and progress in every field. In short, by hook or crook; they want to tame the nature. But the main problem is that human beings do not know the footprint left behind by their actions and of course their consequences on the future generations. …

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