Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems


Background: Using the Resource Based View (RBV) and the Integrated Sustainability Framework (ISF) as theoretical foundation, this study proposes and empirically examines hypotheses on how different types of IS-enabled sustainability initiatives are used to enable environmental and social sustainability in the four quadrants of the ISF.

Method: The study uses a mixed-method approach, combining multiple-case study and non-parametric statistical analysis (Friedman test). IS-enabled sustainability initiatives were collected from Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reports of six leading global sustainability companies across three industries with different levels of IS/IT use intensity during 2009-2015 period.

Results: The study finds empirical quantitative and qualitative support for the proposed hypotheses. In different quadrants of the ISF, companies were found to use different types of IS-enabled sustainability initiatives in different patterns to enable sustainability strategy.

Conclusions: The study opens the IS box to provide further theoretical and empirical insights on how companies combine IS and business resources to develop different types of IS-enabled sustainability initiatives to help them address sustainability (both environmental and social) across the ISF. The study is among early IS research that adopts GRI reports as data source and presents a method for extracting GRI data for IS and sustainability research. Researchers and practitioners can both find the study’s findings instructive.