Achieving Sustainable E-Commerce in Environmental, Social and Economic Dimensions by Taking Possible Trade-Offs

Reference Type:

Journal Article

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Published In:

Sustainability

Year:

2019

Author(s):

Judit Olah
Nicodemus Kitukutha
Hossam Haddad
Miklos Pakurar
Domician Mate
Jozsef Popp

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The Internet revolution has led to the advancement of online business all over the world. The environmental, social, and economic aspects are significant to the e-commerce sector, on both the retailer and consumer sides. It cannot be over-emphasized how important the sustainability of e-commerce in all three dimensions is. E-commerce will allow consumers to shop online easily, at any hour of the day, using secure payment systems; furthermore, trust in retailers' websites is of paramount importance to consumers. This calls our attention to the gap in previous studies, and consequently, the purpose of this study is to fill the gap, to ensure sustainable e-commerce in three dimensions; environmental, social, and economic. The question and aim under investigation are: How to integrate three dimensions into e-commerce to ensure that sustainability is achieved now and for future generations, while thriving as an industry? Collaboration is required, and all stakeholders in the virtual market must take appropriate responsibility. The methodology adopted is a review of previous studies done on each individual dimension of sustainability, since no joint studies have been carried out and integrated into the same literature framework. Furthermore, a case study involving companies in Kenya and Jordan is used in order to collect empirical data. The findings of the study show that: First, integration is essential for the sustainability of e-commerce in its three dimensions; second, trade-offs must be taken in the various dimensions in order for companies to realize sustainable e-commerce. This will go in hand with the realization of the maximum benefits of integrating the three dimensions in e-commerce to make it more sustainable. In conclusion, by applying these aspects of sustainability in e-commerce, it is clear that everyone wins. This is achieved by improving and safeguarding the quality of life by protecting the environment, preserving natural resources, and maintaining and sustaining the economy. The implications of the study are that, in order to make e-commerce more sustainable, to make decisions and take action, social/environmental/economic aspects must be considered as a fundamental element, and must be treated as a group and not separately as in previous studies. In this way, we can realize greater benefits, not only in online business sustainability, but also in policy-making and environmental protection, while companies will create economic value as well as avoiding labor unrest.