Sanna Tiilikainen, Michael Lettenmeier, Mikko Jalas, ICIS 2021 12.-15.12.2021
To counteract climate change, organizations are providing online carbon footprint calculators (CFCs) for consumers, to facilitate their sustainable consumption. Even though consumers are increasingly using these CFCs, their effectiveness remains an open question. Based on interviews of CFC developers, drawing on encoding-decoding framework, and the concepts of representations of users and usage, we uncover the organizations’ enablers and barriers to the design of effective CFCs. We show how developers perceive their enablers and barriers propagate, rippling through the design process, affecting the CFC artifact’s symbolic meaning and perceived effectiveness: the rippling of enablers reinforces CFC’s symbolic meaning for developers as solid, facilitating the consumers’ reading it as effective. The rippling of barriers, reinforces CFC’s symbolic meaning for developers as precarious, provoking consumers’ reading it as indicative, otiose, or exacerbating. We discuss the implications of the enablers and barriers, especially regarding the technical infrastructure, to the organizations’ design of effective CFCs.