How Green is Silicon Valley? Ecological Sustainability and the High-tech Industry
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How Green is Silicon Valley? Ecological Sustainability and the High-tech Industry

Abstract

Sustainable development theory explores the tensions between ecological systems, economic growth, and technological advancement. Meanwhile public policy has focused on the compatibility of environmental and economic goals through sustainability discourse and indicators projects. High-tech is often perceived to be a clean industry and Silicon Valley has become an economic phenomenon that other regions attempt to mimic. Yet, industry-sponsored sustainable indicator reports have not fully explored the ecological costs of high-tech production processes. The intense chemical throughput of the manufacturing process and the high volume of toxic waste from the end products pose serious ecological and human health risks. The international scope of the industry and the frequent outsourcing of the production supply chain make regulating the high-tech industry a complex undertaking. Increased company responsibility for the impacts of their products is necessary for the industry to approach the ecological goals set by the sustainability and indicators reports of Silicon Valley.

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