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Digital Economy, E-commerce, and Sustainability

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2021) | Viewed by 45939

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Institute of Logistics and Warehousing, ul. Ewarysta Estkowskiego 6, 61-755 Poznań, Poland
Interests: logistics, transport, e-commerce, smart city, last mile, sharing economy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The rapidly developing Internet, whose control is decentralized and which is run by self-regulated software systems, provides an unique and exciting opportunity that could potentially revolutionize the conventional ways of doing business entirely. Moreover, dynamic and changing market conditions make it necessary for companies to act in networks to maintain their competitive position. For this reason, they have to adapt their own actions to those of other market players, which requires a smart attitude and means that enterprises should be sustainable, modern, adaptive, and technology-oriented. For example, when it comes to making decisions about the extent to which a business model should be green or lean, these decisions are connected with logistics, IT, environmental issues, and network relationship management, especially co-operation between suppliers, customers, and competitors.

The aim of this Special Issue is to create a discussion platform (approaches, opinions, ideas) focused on new and emerging solutions and technologies that might be successfully applied in the configuration, improvement, and management of companies, supply chains, and networks in the highly volatile environment of today’s global economy.

Both theoretical and practical approaches in the area are welcome, especially innovative tools, technologies, methods, instruments in management, and case studies from different sectors and different countries.

A list of some potentially interesting topics for this session is provided below:

  • E-commerce;
  • Innovative business models;
  • Novel business models and automations in the digital economy;
  • Social impact and interactions in digital economy;
  • Environmental impact and interactions in digital economy;
  • Sustainable supply chain;
  • Smart logistics;
  • Artificial intelligence in e-commerce and supply chains;
  • Modeling and simulation of business processes.

Dr. Arkadiusz Kawa
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • e-commerce
  • innovative business models
  • digital economy
  • supply chain
  • smart logistics
  • artificial intelligence
  • business processes

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 776 KiB  
Article
The Impact of the Digital Economy on CO2 Emissions: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis
by Xiaoyan Li, Jia Liu and Peijie Ni
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7267; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137267 - 29 Jun 2021
Cited by 101 | Viewed by 8297
Abstract
Since the Industrial Revolution, human activities have led to the emission of a lot of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, sharply increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and resulting in serious global warming. With the rapid development of computer [...] Read more.
Since the Industrial Revolution, human activities have led to the emission of a lot of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, sharply increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and resulting in serious global warming. With the rapid development of computer technology, the digital economy is gradually becoming the engine of economic growth. As a new economic mode, how the digital economy affects the environment is worth studying. In this paper, we introduced the digital economy into the Solow growth model as technological progress and conducted fixed-effects regressions based on the global panel data of 190 countries from 2005 to 2016. We found an inverted U-shaped, non-linear relationship between CO2 emissions and the digital economy, which supports the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) hypothesis. We suggest that governments need to not only adopt hedging policies to reduce CO2 emissions caused by the digital economy in the early stage but also promote the development of the digital economy to achieve the goal of global collaborative environmental protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Economy, E-commerce, and Sustainability)
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27 pages, 5265 KiB  
Article
How Can SMEs Become More Sustainable? Modelling the M-Commerce Consumer Behaviour with Contingent Free Shipping and Customer Journey’s Touchpoints Optimisation
by Eliza Nichifor, Radu Constantin Lixăndroiu, Silvia Sumedrea, Ioana Bianca Chițu and Gabriel Brătucu
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6845; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126845 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4110
Abstract
Digital technology is leading the transformation of business models into sustainable ones, expanding and changing the competitiveness scenario. This paper aims to promote a new sustainable retailer model shaped by contingent free shipping theory and the optimisation of the customer’s journey, enriching the [...] Read more.
Digital technology is leading the transformation of business models into sustainable ones, expanding and changing the competitiveness scenario. This paper aims to promote a new sustainable retailer model shaped by contingent free shipping theory and the optimisation of the customer’s journey, enriching the scientific literature by proposing a consumer behavioural model that highlights the contribution of four selected touchpoints to the sustainable transformation of SMEs. The research was elaborated by deploying a framework that presents five analysis methods, namely, an additive function construction, a TOPSIS method, a Spearman rank correlation coefficient calculation, a content analysis and an analytic hierarchy process, which engender the new model. Discovering nine distinguished categories of e-tailers, the sustainable retailer profile was developed and the touchpoint with the greatest contribution to the transformation process was identified. The results of the study allowed the authors to propose the model as a solution to withstand the preponderant negative experience provided by analysed e-tailers to digital buyers, representing the opportunity for SMEs’ sustainable transformation and long-term growth in a competitive, ever-growing market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Economy, E-commerce, and Sustainability)
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11 pages, 569 KiB  
Article
Fulfilment as Logistics Support for E-Tailers: An Empirical Studies
by Arkadiusz Kawa
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 5988; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115988 - 26 May 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2913
Abstract
Undoubtedly, one of the key areas of e-commerce is logistics. It is not only about the delivery of shipments, but also a number of other processes related to customer service and warehousing. The e-commerce logistics is driven by such trends as development of [...] Read more.
Undoubtedly, one of the key areas of e-commerce is logistics. It is not only about the delivery of shipments, but also a number of other processes related to customer service and warehousing. The e-commerce logistics is driven by such trends as development of logistic co-operation models, different delivery methods and cross-border e-commerce. Fulfilment is one of the logistic co-operation model examples. Still, only a small proportion of online retailers use their services. The paper aims to characterise fulfilment services and indicate the benefits which e-tailers achieve from applying fulfilment services as well as the reasons why other companies do not use them. It is also important to determine the impact of these services on the online sellers’ performance. For the purposes of the research, 300 interviews were conducted with e-tailers. The studies show that only some part of the online shops use fulfilment services but those who use such service are satisfied and most often perceive saving time and increasing logistics service level as the greatest benefit. Moreover, such companies perform better. The firms which do not use the fulfilment services point out the willingness to keep everything under control as the main reason. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Economy, E-commerce, and Sustainability)
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19 pages, 1282 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Management for Fresh Food E-Commerce Logistics Services
by Yi Jiang, Polin Lai, Chia-Hsun Chang, Kum Fai Yuen, Sihang Li and Xinchen Wang
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3456; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063456 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 10382
Abstract
This article determines the quality factors which improve the satisfaction of logistics services, and the specific evaluation items that customers value. Moreover, this study verifies the moderating effect of consumers on the perceived importance of last-mile logistics services, and its impact on logistics [...] Read more.
This article determines the quality factors which improve the satisfaction of logistics services, and the specific evaluation items that customers value. Moreover, this study verifies the moderating effect of consumers on the perceived importance of last-mile logistics services, and its impact on logistics service satisfaction. Through a literature review, the conceptual model is determined, and measurement scales are developed. Furthermore, we collect data through online surveys and employ structural equation modeling, hierarchical regression analysis, and importance–performance analysis methods in order to analyze the collected data, and to test the research hypotheses. The findings of this study are as follows. First, the qualities of personal contact, timeliness, and empathy in the fresh food e-commerce logistics service quality evaluation system have a significant positive impact on the fresh food e-commerce logistics service consumer satisfaction, but the delivery quality and information quality are not significant. Second, consumers’ perceived importance of last-mile logistics services has a positive and significant impact on the consumer satisfaction of fresh food e-commerce logistics services. Moreover, as a moderating variable, its moderating effect has limitations: it only affects the relationship between information quality, timeliness quality, empathy quality, and consumer satisfaction. Finally, in the three evaluation dimensions of information quality, timeliness quality, and empathy quality, specific items that need to be further improved are identified. This study enriches and supplements the empirical research in the field of fresh food e-commerce logistics, and provides academic literature with a reference value for fresh food e-commerce logistics enterprises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Economy, E-commerce, and Sustainability)
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18 pages, 6209 KiB  
Article
Objective Sustainability Assessment in the Digital Economy: An Information Entropy Measure of Transparency in Corporate Sustainability Reporting
by Mohammed Zakaria, Chadi Aoun and Divakaran Liginlal
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1054; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031054 - 20 Jan 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2892
Abstract
The Internet is now a central enabler for sharing sustainability information. Yet, such enablement is complicated through an exponentially increasing array of information. What is lacking in the digital economy are objective and transparent mechanisms to provide reliable assessments of the published sustainability [...] Read more.
The Internet is now a central enabler for sharing sustainability information. Yet, such enablement is complicated through an exponentially increasing array of information. What is lacking in the digital economy are objective and transparent mechanisms to provide reliable assessments of the published sustainability information in a timely and efficient manner. In addressing such limitation, this research proposes an objective automated mechanism for measuring transparency in sustainability reporting using an information entropy-based approach. Through text-mining methods and expert validation, the study built a sustainability dictionary corpus and then applied the corpus for objectively assessing the relative entropy between the probability distributions of words in the sustainability dictionary and those in corporate reports. To demonstrate its effectiveness, the mechanism was empirically applied to compare sustainability reporting of organizations in the energy sector. Here, the research effectively compared cartels with non-cartels by assessing the sustainability reports of major OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-OPEC producers spanning a three-year period and found consistent differences in transparency between the two groups. The findings demonstrate likely normative transparency pressures on disaffiliated producers for which cartels may be immune. The automated mechanism holds important theoretical and practical contributions to the field of sustainability as it provides a rapid and objective means for textual analysis of sustainability information, thus promoting transparency in sustainability reporting in the rapidly evolving digital economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Economy, E-commerce, and Sustainability)
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15 pages, 677 KiB  
Article
Nexus of Digital Organizational Culture, Capabilities, Organizational Readiness, and Innovation: Investigation of SMEs Operating in the Digital Economy
by Zhang Zhen, Zahid Yousaf, Magdalena Radulescu and Muhammad Yasir
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 720; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020720 - 13 Jan 2021
Cited by 67 | Viewed by 8695
Abstract
This current study was conducted in order to develop a digital innovation model based on the digital organizational culture, digital capability, and organizational readiness. This study explores how the organizational readiness plays a mediating role between the digital capabilities and digital innovation and [...] Read more.
This current study was conducted in order to develop a digital innovation model based on the digital organizational culture, digital capability, and organizational readiness. This study explores how the organizational readiness plays a mediating role between the digital capabilities and digital innovation and between the digital organizational culture and digital innovation. For data collection, the survey instrument was used to collect data from 227 SMEs of ICT industry in Pakistan. The findings have revealed a significant connection of the digital organizational culture and digital capabilities with the digital innovation. Second, the organizational readiness mediates between the digital capabilities, digital organizational culture, and digital innovation. The study has empirically confirmed how to flourish a mechanism of the digital innovation in the SMEs. Moreover, the findings suggest some substantial implications for the management by focusing on the digital capabilities and digital organizational culture as a fundamental predictor for the digital innovation via organizational readiness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Economy, E-commerce, and Sustainability)
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Review

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23 pages, 543 KiB  
Review
The Environmental Impact of Transport Activities for Online and In-Store Shopping: A Systematic Literature Review to Identify Relevant Factors for Quantitative Assessments
by Susanne Feichtinger and Manfred Gronalt
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2981; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052981 - 9 Mar 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 5732
Abstract
In the scientific literature, there are numerous studies with different approaches and focuses on assessing the environmental impact of online shopping and shopping in the traditional retail channel. The aim of this work is to analyse scientific studies that quantitatively assess the environmental [...] Read more.
In the scientific literature, there are numerous studies with different approaches and focuses on assessing the environmental impact of online shopping and shopping in the traditional retail channel. The aim of this work is to analyse scientific studies that quantitatively assess the environmental impact of transport activities in both channels and to extract the factors used for this assessment. A literature search was conducted for the period 2006 to October 2020, with 90 studies shortlisted, of which 15 studies were identified as relevant in a screening process. The analysis showed that a different number of factors is included in the selected studies. Logistics-related and behavioural factors are mostly of similar importance. Third-order effects, such as rebound or complementary effects, are rarely considered. Furthermore, it becomes clear that the results also depend on differences in study design and external factors. This work illustrates the complexity of quantitatively assessing the environmental impact of online and in-store shopping. Caution is advised when deriving recommendations for action from general statements about the environmental friendliness of a distribution channel. The 15 factors found, together with the classification method used, form a solid basis for building new models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Economy, E-commerce, and Sustainability)
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