Many business and social functions are becoming more dependent on software, which overall increases the industry’s ethical responsibility. In addition to considering what kind of projects are beneficial to society, we need to consider whether they can cause some harm to society. We live in a time where we are overloaded with information, and concerns about privacy and data hacking, among other things, are ever present. Of course, social sustainability is also strongly linked to keeping people fit for work, which is something we strive to ensure by investing primarily in the continuous learning and well-being of our employees.
Microsoft’s Jeffrey Snover suggests that the following CSR issues should be considered in software development projects:
- Does the solution improve people’s quality of life?
- Could the solution be misused for something unethical?
- Which user groups are excluded?
- Is what we do ethical?
- Is what we do legal?
Due to the increasing social responsibility of software developers, it is important that developers are capable and interested in assessing not only the technical and financial sustainability of the code, but also these questions.
Human sustainability refers to the continuous, life-long development and well-being of the individual and lays the foundations for four other areas. Satisfied, committed and skilled employees enable the creation of technically sustainable and therefore cost-effective solutions in the long term. When individuals are competent and well-trained, they are well equipped to create technical solutions that enable the competitiveness of the customer companies, the surrounding society and the future of the environment. Social sustainability therefore refers to the social responsibility of software development and ecological sustainability focuses on minimising its climate impact.
By paying special attention to these areas of sustainable software development, we can better ensure the success and high customer satisfaction of projects.
In Finland, the software development sustainability
consists of five areas:
Continuous, life-long development and well-being of the individual
Long-term use of systems and ability to develop them in accordance with changing circumstances and requirements
Long-term cost-effective solutions
Corporate social responsibility for programme development and IT solutions
Minimising environmental impacts through software development