Connecting people through online networks, ordering food or sharing an e-bike – all of this is possible nowadays via digital applications and platforms. In terms of sustainability, the use of these platforms creates both opportunities and risks. Positive effects can arise if digital platforms provide direct marketing channels for small-scale, sustainable business models or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, e.g. via apps that facilitate sharing of low-carbon mobility options. However, there is also a risk that consumption will increase overall, potentially driving up energy and resource demand.
How can IT applications support the transition to sustainability? This question is being explored by researchers at the Oeko-Institut. Among other things, they look at which factors influence the economic, environmental and social sustainability of digital platform systems. Economic viability, regionality and legal frameworks are a further focus of their sustainability assessments of IT applications.