Sustainability by Default? Nudging Carbon Offsetting Behavior in E-Commerce

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Franzoi, S., & vom Brocke, J. (2022). Sustainability by Default? Nudging Carbon Offsetting Behavior in E-Commerce. Paper presented at the 30th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Timisoara, Romania. (VHB_3: B)

Publication type

Paper in Conference Proceedings


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.


Digital Nudging — The Power of Defaults
FFF-Förderprojekt, June 2018 until December 2021 (finished)

Many decisions are increasingly made in online contexts. It is therefore important to understand the impact of websites and their context on our decision-making behaviour. Even small modifications in ... more ...

Digital Nudging in Business Process Management
FFF-Förderprojekt, November 2021 until December 2023

Processes are ubiquitous - they permeate all areas of life. Businesses are organized through processes, novel innovations are created through processes and a panoply of other aspects in people's ... more ...


Organizational Units

  • Institute of Information Systems
  • Hilti Chair of Business Process Management