Sustainability by Default? Nudging Carbon Offsetting Behavior in E-Commerce
Franzoi, Sandro; vom Brocke, Jan
The continuous rise of e-commerce and the resulting global transportation activities lead to an increased environmental load, specifically in the form of carbon emissions. While carbon offset donations offer the potential to mitigate the ecological harm, these voluntary options are not yet prevalent among e-commerce customers. Prior research has shown that information systems (IS) can be utilized to encourage more sustainable behavior by digitally nudging people into offsetting their carbon emissions. Therefore, this study intends to examine the influence of defaults on carbon offsetting in e-commerce checkout processes. A digital experiment with 125 participants revealed that higher default donation values significantly increase people’s carbon offset contributions in an e-commerce checkout process. Participants in the treatment group (high default) donated, on average, 33 percent more for carbon offsetting compared to the control group (low default). As a result, this research contributes to the fields of behavioral economics in IS, digital nudging as well as green IS and has valuable implications for IS practitioners and designers.
Keywords: Carbon Offset, Sustainability, Green Information Systems, Behavioral Economics, Digital Nudging