A Design Theory for Energy and Carbon Management Systems in the Supply Chain

Eleni Zampou
Ioannis Mourtos
Katerina Pramatari
Stefan Stefan Seidel


Energy and Carbon Management Systems (ECMS) are a class of green information systems that has the potential to increase environmental sustainability in organizations and across supply chains. Employing a design science research approach, we define the scope of ECMS in the supply chain context, identify requirements, design an expository instantiation, and develop an information systems design theory, including key constructs and design principles. We instantiate this theory in four supply chain contexts to validate and revise the proposed design in two rounds. We identify six system components—data collection, energy monitoring, supply chain coordination, ECMS workflow engine, reporting, and carbon footprint estimator—that integrate and coordinate four types of information flows (transactional, contextual, energy, and product-environmental), and formulate design principles. Our evaluation indicates that the ECMS design theory, if instantiated, supports energy and carbon measurement and environmentally aware decision-making and practicing in supply chains. We also highlight how considering energy information flows in combination with material features that afford environmentally aware decision-making and practicing are key to qualifying information systems as “green.”