22 April, 2024
Marah Blaurock


How tech companies advance sustainability through artificial intelligence: Developing and evaluating an AI x Sustainability strategy framework

We are happy to share that a recent paper on the relevant topic of the interplay of AI and sustainability from a firm strategy perspective co-authored by our postdoctoral researcher and member of the IKID Team, Marah Blaurock, is now published in the Journal of Industrial Marketing Management. Considering the challenges of the twin transition, this work provides a hands-on strategic framework for (tech) companies to assess or develop their AI x Sustainability strategies and provides interesting insights into current initiatives of six Big Tech companies (Microsoft, IBM, SAP, Google, Amazon, and Meta) and customer perceptions of different AI x Sustainability strategies.


Sustainability is at the top of the agenda of most tech companies. Specifically, tech companies increasingly utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to meet their sustainability goals. However, little is known about how tech companies can leverage AI to accelerate sustainability by formulating and implementing appropriate strategies. To better understand the intertwined nature of AI and sustainability from a strategy perspective, this research conceptually develops a novel AI x Sustainability framework by drawing from the nested sustainability model and integrating insights from different literature streams. It then applies this framework to six leading Big Tech companies (i.e., Amazon, Google, IBM, Meta, Microsoft, and SAP) by conducting a comprehensive document analysis of 69 documents describing 244 individual AI x Sustainability initiatives to reveal whether and how these companies appear to follow specific AI x Sustainability strategies. Lastly, an exploratory survey with potential tech companies’ clients (N = 192) sheds light on how clients perceive tech companies’ communicated strategic positioning based on the framework. The research provides new theoretical insights, serves as a blueprint for other tech companies, including implications for their AI x Sustainability positioning, and offers a variety of future research directions.

Keywords: AI, Sustainability, Strategy, Strategic management, Twin transition, Tech companies

Authors: Felix Zechiel, Marah Blaurock, Ellen Weber, Marion Büttgen, Kristof Coussement

Link to paper: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indmarman.2024.03.010