Digital tools to help the environment



Cities, employers and energy providers offer many software programs, websites and mobile applications designed to encourage eco-friendly behaviour. These green information systems (IS) provide information, support and tips to promote alternative modes of transportation, reduce resource consumption and save energy. 

The results show that the use of a green IS contributes to the adoption of more eco-friendly behaviours by users.

The new habits developed through the use of these digital tools are far from being limited to the environment for which the tools were created, such as the office. That is the conclusion reached by Jacqueline Corbett, an administration researcher at Université Laval, after analyzing an online survey she conducted with more than 600 Canadians and Americans. One third of respondents used a tool offered by their city, while the remaining two-thirds used respectively an IS developed by their energy provider or employer. To compare the effectiveness of these tools, participants were asked about their eco-friendly behaviours at home, in the community, and at work.

The results show that the use of a green IS contributes to the adoption of more eco-friendly behaviours by users. In addition, users of a green IS offered by employers are the most likely to continue their eco-friendly behaviour outside the environment for which the tool was created. More and more employers are using IS to motivate their employees and encourage them to use public transport or car sharing, save paper and energy, recycle, etc, and these eco-friendly behaviours developed at work tend to persist at home and in the community. 

This work suggests that employers, energy providers and cities would benefit from working together to integrate their green IS, multiplying their positive impact.