Characterising sustainability requirements: A new species, red herring, or just an odd fish?

Colin C. Venters, Norbert Seyff, Christoph Becker, Stefanie Betz, Ruzanna Chitchyan, Leticia Duboc, Dan Mcintyre, Birgit Penzenstadler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Requirements articulating the needs of stakeholders are critical to successful system development and key to influencing their long-term effects. As the concept of sustainability has entered the discourse of a number of software-related computing fields, so has the term ‘sustainability requirement’. However, it is unclear whether sustainability requirements are and should be different from how we already understand software requirements. This paper presents the results of a corpus-assisted discourse analysis study that explored the concept of sustainability requirements in order to understand how the term is being used in software and requirements engineering and related fields. The results of this study reveal that the term ‘sustainability requirement’ is generally used ambiguously and reveals significant segmentation across different fields. Our detailed analysis of selected influential papers highlights the segmented use of the term and suggests key focus questions that need to be addressed to establish a shared operative understanding of the term.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2017 IEEE/ACM 39th International Conference on Software Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationSoftware Engineering in Society Track (ICSE-SEIS), Buenos Aires, 2017
EditorsRandall Bilof
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781538626733
ISBN (Print)9781538626740
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2017
Event39th International Conference on Software Engineering: Software Engineering in Society - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Duration: 20 May 201728 May 2017
Conference number: 39 (Link to Conference Details )


Conference39th International Conference on Software Engineering
Abbreviated titleICSE-SEIS
CityBuenos Aires
Internet address


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