Ideas with Impact
UNB Faculty of Management

Dollars Votes impact on the environment

Author: Ideas with Impact

Posted on Oct 29, 2014

Category: Faculty

What can you buy with a dollar? Most people would respond to this question by saying, “not much!” According to Dr. Rebecca Angeles, a professor at UNB teaching courses in management of information systems, dollars add to up votes, which in turn canDr. Rebecca Angeles' research looks at businesses that use environmentally sustainable practices. drive market forces towards more environmentally sustainable business practices, which can ultimately lead to a healthier, greener planet.

Not a day goes by without news about the damage our industries are causing the environment or about the negative impact our lifestyle is having on the planet. It’s tempting to become overwhelmed with a sense of hopelessness and wonder what one person do to change the path humanity has been following. Dr. Angeles believes she can use her research and expertise in information technology systems to help businesses employ more ecologically sustainable practices and to help people become aware of how their individual choices can drive ecologically intelligent changes in the market place.

For several years Dr. Angeles has been researching and teaching courses on green supply chains. Until recently, her work has focused on the upstream flow of the supply value chain, looking at business to business relationships with suppliers to discover how IT can support transactions and supply chain flow with as little impact on natural resources as possible. She is now looking at the downstream flow of the supply chain - at wholesale distributers, retail outlets and the end consumers, firms and individuals - to study and promote those businesses that use environmentally sustainable practices.

Her recent work is inspired by Daniel Goleman’s 2009 publication, Ecological Intelligence, about how the recent science of industrial ecology is making knowledge of the impact products, their manufacturing process and life cycles, are having on the environment, human health, and society. Goleman advocates radical transparency of this information through media, so that individual consumers will be aware of the footprints their actions and the products they purchase have in the world. By choosing to purchase items with a smaller footprint, their dollar represents a vote for change towards more products and business practices that have less harmful impacts on the planet. These dollars add up to send a powerful message to manufacturers, businesses and governments.

Dr. Angeles has been investigating the attributes of consumers whose purchase decisions are most likely to be influenced by the information provided by online environmental information websites. One such website that Goleman mentions in his book is, which rates over 250,000 household products on 1-10 scale for their health, environment and social impact.  Dr. Angeles wanted to find out how likely consumers’ choices of personal care and household chemical and food products would be influenced by the kind of information provided by To accomplish this, she surveyed a sample group of undergraduate and graduate students at UNB’s faculty of business administration and the results of her research strongly suggested a predisposition among this group to use social networking and mobile devices to learn more about how green products impact the world are before making a purchase decision.

In early September Dr. Angeles traveled to Verona, Italy, one of the oldest cities in the world, to present her findings at the Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems, 2014. Her work will be published in the conference proceedings and will be included as a chapter in a book published by IGI Global Publishing called Artificial Intelligence Technologies and the Evolution of Web 3.0 (edited by Tomayess Issa and Pedro Isaias). The title of her chapter is “Predicting Use of Consumer Product Sustainability Information Using VBN Theory and NEP Scale.”

In addition to publishing her research, Dr. Angeles incorporates it into the courses she teaches at UNB. Her work has potential to influence how businesses use and care for the planet one consumer at a time.

For more information contact Liz Lemon-Mitchell.