IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Exploring the role of IT for environmental sustainability in China: An empirical analysis


  • Cai, Shun
  • Chen, Xi
  • Bose, Indranil


Recently, the role of information technology (IT) for energy and environmental sustainability has received wide attention from both academics and practitioners because IT plays a crucial role in the energy consumption and environmental related issues. This study explores the role of IT for energy and environmental sustainability in China by proposing a research model based on the political–economic framework. Drawing upon the stakeholder theory, we identify public concerns and regulatory forces as key political factors, and cost reduction and differentiation as key economic factors that affect the adoption of green IT and IT for green. The survey method is employed to test our model and hypotheses and PLS is chosen for data analysis. Our results reveal that economic factors, including cost reduction and differentiation are critical in influencing Chinese companies to adopt IT for environmental sustainability strategy. Our research suggests that the role of IT for environmental sustainability may go beyond cost reduction and contribute to competitive advantage for the firms. With the proper use of IT and IT related systems and equipments, a firm can improve its competitiveness while continuing to be environmentally friendly.

Suggested Citation

  • Cai, Shun & Chen, Xi & Bose, Indranil, 2013. "Exploring the role of IT for environmental sustainability in China: An empirical analysis," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 491-500.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:146:y:2013:i:2:p:491-500
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpe.2013.01.030

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zhu, Qinghua & Sarkis, Joseph & Cordeiro, James J. & Lai, Kee-Hung, 2008. "Firm-level correlates of emergent green supply chain management practices in the Chinese context," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 577-591, August.
    2. Gefen, David, 2000. "E-commerce: the role of familiarity and trust," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 725-737, December.
    3. Wu, Guo-Ciang & Ding, Jyh-Hong & Chen, Ping-Shun, 2012. "The effects of GSCM drivers and institutional pressures on GSCM practices in Taiwan’s textile and apparel industry," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(2), pages 618-636.
    4. Faucheux, S. & Nicolaï, I., 2011. "IT for green and green IT: A proposed typology of eco-innovation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 2020-2027, September.
    5. Clarkson, Peter M. & Li, Yue & Richardson, Gordon D. & Vasvari, Florin P., 2008. "Revisiting the relation between environmental performance and environmental disclosure: An empirical analysis," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(4-5), pages 303-327.
    6. Michael E. Porter & Claas van der Linde, 1995. "Toward a New Conception of the Environment-Competitiveness Relationship," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 97-118, Fall.
    7. Armstrong, J. Scott & Overton, Terry S., 1977. "Estimating Nonresponse Bias in Mail Surveys," MPRA Paper 81694, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Naresh K. Malhotra & Sung S. Kim & Ashutosh Patil, 2006. "Common Method Variance in IS Research: A Comparison of Alternative Approaches and a Reanalysis of Past Research," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(12), pages 1865-1883, December.
    9. Miao, Zhaowei & Cai, Shun & Xu, Di, 2012. "Exploring the antecedents of logistics social responsibility: A focus on Chinese firms," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 18-27.
    10. Pauline Barrieu & Bernard Sinclair-Desgagné, 2006. "On Precautionary Policies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(8), pages 1145-1154, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lai, Kee-hung & Wong, Christina W.Y. & Lam, Jasmine Siu Lee, 2015. "Sharing environmental management information with supply chain partners and the performance contingencies on environmental munificence," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 445-453.
    2. Christian Felix Böttcher & Martin Müller, 2015. "Drivers, Practices and Outcomes of Low-carbon Operations: Approaches of German Automotive Suppliers to Cutting Carbon Emissions," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(6), pages 477-498, September.
    3. Manoj Thomas & Daniela Costa & Tiago Oliveira, 2016. "Assessing the role of IT-enabled process virtualization on green IT adoption," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 693-710, August.
    4. Schoenherr, Tobias & Wagner, Stephan M., 2016. "Supplier involvement in the fuzzy front end of new product development: An investigation of homophily, benevolence and market turbulence," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 101-113.
    5. Zhou, Kaile & Yang, Shanlin, 2016. "Understanding household energy consumption behavior: The contribution of energy big data analytics," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 810-819.
    6. Salahuddin, Mohammad & Alam, Khorshed & Ozturk, Ilhan, 2016. "The effects of Internet usage and economic growth on CO2 emissions in OECD countries: A panel investigation," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1226-1235.
    7. Qi Deng & Shaobo Ji, 2015. "Organizational Green IT Adoption: Concept and Evidence," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(12), pages 1-19, December.
    8. repec:gam:jsusta:v:7:y:2015:i:12:p:16737-16755:d:60842 is not listed on IDEAS


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:146:y:2013:i:2:p:491-500. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.