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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | Information Systems Science | 2011
Thesis number: 12505
Conceptualizing and measuring Green IT Readiness in Finnish companies. Application area: electronic invoice
Author: Tenhunen, Maija
Title: Conceptualizing and measuring Green IT Readiness in Finnish companies. Application area: electronic invoice
Year: 2011  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: Information Systems Science
Index terms: tietojärjestelmät; information systems; tietotekniikka; information technology; ekologia; ecology; kestävä kehitys; sustainable development; ympäristötalous; environmental economics; tehokkuus; effectiveness
Pages: 101
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_12505.pdf pdf  size:717 KB (734062)
Key terms: Green IT, Green IT Readiness, e-invoice, carbon footprint, eco-sustainability
Abstract:
IT has a dual role in the current climate change actions. Its emissions, 2 % of the annual global CO2e, equal to the much critiqued aviation industry. On the other hand, it can be used to reduce emissions in other sectors. The new area of study, Green IT, focuses on these abilities.

The purposes of this research are twofold. Firstly, the goal is to determine Finnish businesses Green IT Readiness -levels. It means companies’ maturity in integrating environmental viewpoint to IT related activities throughout its lifecycle. The G -Readiness framework is also used to test the role of eco-sustainability in adoption of e-invoicing. The second part of the research is about IT’s enabling role in reducing carbon footprint of invoicing as invoices are turned from paper to electronic format.

According to the research, the respondent companies’ G -Readiness seems to be mediocre. The framework with four measures (Attitude, Paperless Office, Management and Virtualization) was studied through a survey and tested using Partial Least Squares analysis (PLS). The study concludes that G -Readiness is currently being characterized as an attitude rather than a set of planned and coordinated tasks. Interestingly, the study indicates that environmental considerations do not explain adoption of e-invoicing.

The case study on carbon footprint of invoices indicates that an e-invoice is four times more environmentally friendly than a paper invoice. The most reductions arise from increased productivity of IT enabled work, which is measured by office worker’s carbon footprint. Use of paper products and traditional mail delivery were also found to have noticeable impact, while technology and the use of it generated only a fraction of the footprint. The footprint of an office worker had not been accounted for in the previous research. Thus this finding produced totally new information to the field.

The findings raise an important point about the link between eco-sustainability and productivity. Adoption of e-invoicing increases productivity and reduces emissions, but businesses have not truly accounted for this link. This indicates that many IT enabled process improvements could easily be accounted for in sustainability reporting. To reach the highest possible reductions in emissions, companies should integrate the eco-sustainability and productivity link to value chain thinking rather than focus on single processes alone.
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