SUSTAINABILITY AND INFORMATION SYSTEM
Sustainability is the study of how natural systems function, remain diverse and produce everything it needs for the ecology to remain in balance. It also acknowledges that human civilization takes resources to sustain our modern way of life.
Information system, an integrated set of components for collecting, storing, and processing data and for providing information, knowledge, and digital products.
How information system enable advantage?
THE FOUR SUSTAINABLE STRATEGIES:
COST LEADERSHIP- Organizations can use information systems to fundamentally shift the cost of doing business (Booth, Roberts & Sikes 2011) or reduce the costs of business processes or/and to lower the costs of customers or suppliers, i.e., using online business to consumer & business to business models, e-procurement systems to reduce operating costs.
DIFFERENCIATION-Organizations can use information systems to develop differentiated features or/and to reduce competitors’ differentiation advantages, i.e., using online live chatting systems and social networks to better understand and serve customers; using technology to create infomediaries to offer value-added service and improve customers’ stickiness to your web site/business(Booth, Roberts, and Sikes 2011); applying advanced and established measures for online operations to offline practices (i.e., more accurate and systematic ways of measuring efficiency and effectiveness of advertising) (Manyika, 2009)
INNOVATION-Organizations can use information systems to identify and create (or assist in creating) new products and services or/and to develop new/niche markets or/and to radically change business processes via automation (i.e., using digital modelling and simulation of product design to reduce the time and cost to the market (Chui & Fleming 2011). They also can work on new initiatives of establishing pure online businesses/operations. At the same time, the Internet and telecommunications networks provide better capabilities and opportunities for innovation. “Combinational innovation” and Open innovation are two good examples. There are a large number of component parts on the networks that are very expensive or extremely different before the establishment of the networks, and organizations could combine or recombine components/parts on the networks to create new innovations (Manyika 2009). Meanwhile everyone is connected via personal computers, laptops and other mobile devices through cabled Internet or wireless networks or mobile networks, there are plenty of opportunities to co-create with customers, external partners and internal people.
GROWTH (including mergers and acquisitions)- Organizations can use information systems to expand domestic and international operations or/and to diversify and integrate into other products and services, i.e., establishing global intranet and global operation platform; establishing omni-channel strategy to gain growth (omni-channel strategy looks at leveraging advantages of both online (or digital) and offline (or non-digital) channels) (Rigby 2011)
COMPANIES WHICH USE SUSTAINABLE STRATEGIES:
• Nike and Adidas have both stepped up seriously. Nike has focused on reducing waste and minimizing its footprint, whereas Adidas has created a greener supply chain and targeted specific issues like dyeing and eliminating plastic bags.
• Unilever and Nestlé have both taken on major commitments; Unilever notably on organic palm oil and its overall waste and resource footprint, and Nestlé in areas such as product life cycle, climate, water efficiency and waste.
• Walmart, IKEA and H&M have moved toward more sustainable retailing, largely by leading collaboration across their supply chains to reduce waste, increase resource productivity and optimize material usage. It also has taken steps to address local labor conditions with suppliers from emerging markets.
• Pepsi and Coca-Cola have both developed ambitious agendas, such as increasing focus on water stewardship and setting targets on water replenishment.
• In biopharma, Biogen and Novo Nordisk have both worked toward energy efficiency, waste reduction, and other ecological measures. They have also focused on social impact via partner initiatives in the areas of health and safety.
• In financial services we see how banks like ANZ and Westpac in Australia both advance local communities with good sustainability practices and by embedding sustainability in their business processes and culture.
• Car manufacturers like BMW and Toyota have made strides on energy efficiency and pollution reduction, not to mention Tesla as an outsider really challenging the industry’s overall footprint.
Companies which are not sustainable
Conclusion (whether it’s sustainable or not and why)