“Climate Change” is a term that has become popular in households around the world and is a subject where there are divided opinions. As the world continues to accept that human behavior has to change, businesses are increasingly under pressure to take an interest in the environment. It is only recently that information systems have been the center of both academic and non-academic research to determine if they hold a key to achieve environmental sustainability (Melville 2010). This paper will outline at the definition of a green IS and what might motivate businesses to adopt a green IS. This will be followed by investigating the adoption barriers of green information systems for businesses and a brief look at how stakeholders can affect the decision making in switching systems.
2. Research of Green Information Systems
2.1 Green Information Systems:
Since 2007, when Al Gore filmed a documentary called “An Inconvenient Truth”, the world has become increasingly aware of climate change and the overall sustainability of the environment. Governments and businesses have been under immense pressure to investigate ways that can lead to a reduction in environmental waste and an increase in environmental efficiency. Over the past five years, businesses have come to the realisation that IS can contribute to the process of healing the world environment (Melville 2010). According to Bose and Lu (2011), there exist three primary research areas where IS holds the key to environmental sustainability: Energy efficiency of IS, eco-compatible management of the lifecycle of an IS, and IS as an enabler of green governance. Jenkin, Webster and McShane (2011) defined green IS as the “development and use of information systems to support or enable environmental sustainability initiatives and, thus, tend to have an indirect and positive impact” (p. 18).
2.2 The drivers to adopting and researching in Green Information Systems:
Some businesses will adopt green information systems because of environmental awareness. However, according to Molla, Pittayachawan, Corbitt and Deng (2000), businesses modify their information systems for many other reasons. For example, the majority of businesses studied by Molla et al., (2000) adopted a green IS because it provided an opportunity to reduce cost. Other major drivers were corporate strategy, environmental consideration, social acceptance, Government incentives and regulations, and consumer pressure (Molla et al., 2000). In saying that, it is important to note that reasons will vary depending on the structure and strategy of the business (Molla et al., 2000).
Information systems play a large role in obtaining environmental sustainability then simply making businesses more “environmentally aware” (Watson, Boudreau and Chan 2010). Watson, Boudreau and Chan (2010) argued that information systems would need to be at the heart. For example, an efficient (or Green) information systems could play a major role in reducing energy and carbon dioxide consumption, which they refer to as “energy informatics” (p. 24). Energy informatics focuses on how information systems can be used to reduce energy consumption, and contributes practical solutions towards advance environmental sustainability (Watson, Boudreau, and Chan 2010).
3. Issues in adopting and implementing green IS
3.1. challenges to adopting Green Information Systems
As shown in section 2.1, businesses that adopt a green information system can gain many benefits. However, there exist numerous challenges when adopting a green IS Molla et al., (2009). These include the cost of green solutions, unclear value from switching, lack of government incentives, lack of business leadership in green information systems, absence of government regulation, and lack of skills and training (Molla et al., 2009). However, the most common challenge businesses face when adopting a green information system is the financial costs