Software Engineering for Sustainability: Find the Leverage Points!

Birgit Penzenstadler, Leticia Duboc, Colin Venters, Stefanie Betz, Norbert Seyff, Krzysztof Wnuk, Ruzanna Chitchyan, Steve Easterbrook, Christoph Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


We as software engineers are responsible for the long-term consequences of the systems we design - including impacts on the wider environmental and societal sustainability. However, the field lacks analytical tools for understanding these potential impacts while designing a system or for identifying opportunities for using software to bring about broader societal transformations. This article explores how the concept of leverage points can be used to make sustainability issues more tangible in system design. The example of software for transportation systems illustrates how leverage points can help software engineers map out and investigate the wider system in which the software resides, such that we can use software as an effective tool for engineering a more sustainable world. This article is part of a theme issue on Process Improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-33
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Software
Issue number4
Early online date11 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


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