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Liu, Y.; Song, P. Digital Transformation and Green Innovation of Energy Enterprises. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 15 June 2024).
Liu Y, Song P. Digital Transformation and Green Innovation of Energy Enterprises. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 15, 2024.
Liu, Yutong, Peiyi Song. "Digital Transformation and Green Innovation of Energy Enterprises" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 15, 2024).
Liu, Y., & Song, P. (2023, June 16). Digital Transformation and Green Innovation of Energy Enterprises. In Encyclopedia.
Liu, Yutong and Peiyi Song. "Digital Transformation and Green Innovation of Energy Enterprises." Encyclopedia. Web. 16 June, 2023.
Digital Transformation and Green Innovation of Energy Enterprises

The era of the digital economy has ushered in a new development opportunity for the energy industry, and the role of digitalization in the green and low-carbon transformation process of the energy industry has received increasing attention. There is a significant positive correlation between the digital transformation level and the green innovation level of energy enterprises. The mechanism test shows that the digital transformation of energy enterprises can promote their green innovation ability by improving their dynamic capability. 

digital transformation green innovation energy enterprises sustainable developmen

1. Introduction

Climate change is a major global challenge facing humankind today, and an active response to climate change is an inherent requirement for a country to achieve sustainable development. As China is an important player in building a market-oriented green technology innovation system, energy enterprises should not only maintain the impetus for innovation but also take environmental protection into account in their development. Considering that the carbon emissions of energy enterprises account for a very high proportion of national carbon emissions, these enterprises’ development goals, paths, plans and implementation of relevant work are important factors in the realization of China’s dual-carbon goals. Therefore, how to develop and enhance the green innovation ability of energy enterprises has become an important issue. In the era of the digital economy, digital transformation provides a new research perspective for enterprises’ green innovation. The green and low-carbon transformation of the energy industry is the only way to rapidly achieve the dual-carbon goal. In this process, digitization is playing an increasingly important role, and technological power and cutting-edge technologies will also play key roles. Digital transformation provides an important entry point for energy enterprises to improve their innovation ability. On the one hand, digital transformation can play an “enabling role”, enabling enterprises to adopt new ways of working, cultivate digital capabilities [1] and utilize advanced data analysis tools to enhance enterprises’ ability to identify new opportunities and process innovation [2][3], thus driving product, service and business model innovation. On the other hand, digital transformation can play the “empowering role” to promote knowledge search and reorganization [4], accelerate knowledge and technology spillover [5] and thus improve the absorptive capacity and creativity of employees, which is conducive to improving innovation ability. In addition, digital transformation can also bring cost advantages, scale advantages and industrial supporting advantages to enterprises, which helps enhance the competitiveness of enterprises.
In recent years, technological change and enterprise digital transformation in the digital era have become frontier topics in research on the digital economy [6][7][8]. Under the constraints of the two-carbon target, the pressure for the low-carbon transformation of traditional energy enterprises is increasing, the business profit model of new energy enterprises is changing and enterprises that are adapting to the needs of the new energy structure, such as energy storage, are still in the initial stage. It is imperative for digital empowerment to enhance the green low-carbon transformation of the energy industry. Currently, the process of transformation from informatization to digitalization in the energy industry is accelerating gradually. In this context, it is of great significance to explore how the digital transformation of energy enterprises affects their green innovation so that these enterprises can seize development opportunities of digital transformation, promote green innovation and realize green development and green transformation to achieve high-quality sustainable development.

2. Digital Transformation and Green Innovation of Energy Enterprises

2.1. Enterprise Digital Transformation

Scholars have conducted in-depth research on enterprise digital transformation from different angles. Most previous studies have examined enterprise digitization from the perspective of technology enablement. Early digital transformation is considered to be an ongoing process of using digital technologies in daily organizational life [9]. Some scholars believe that enterprise digitalization is the application of mobile Internet, embedded devices and other digital technologies and equipment to enterprise business [10]. Others believe that enterprise digitalization is not only the application of digital technology [11], but also the process of enterprise organizational reform. If the organizational structuring process is not established according to the market economy and the laws of science and technology, this failure will eventually affect the possibility of digital transformation [12][13]. From the perspective of enterprise strategy, some scholars believe that digital transformation fundamentally has nothing to do with technology but instead is a matter of strategy. The digital transformation of large and mature enterprises has become a strategic priority on the leadership agenda [14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]. In addition, to achieve digital transformation, enterprises should pay attention to the use of existing digital assets, with the strong support of the organizational structure and culture and the help of diversified digital platforms [22][23][24][25][26].

2.2. The Impact of Enterprise Digital Transformation on Enterprise Innovation Ability

In recent years, scholars have conducted much research on the impact of enterprise digital transformation on enterprise innovation ability. Compared with the traditional industrial economic environment, against the background of the digital economy, the environmental characteristics of enterprises have changed greatly. Enterprises need to cope with the complex and changeable environment to maintain their competitive advantages, which imposed higher requirements on their dynamic innovation ability [27][28]. Previous studies have concluded that enterprises should pay attention to the important role of various dynamic capabilities, especially the mutual achievement of digital-related dynamic capabilities and the enterprise ecosystem. The management of ecosystems with dynamic capabilities can effectively improve the performance of service innovation [29]. The role of dynamic capability is closely related to the characteristics of the environment in which an enterprise is situated. These studies emphasize that the enterprise should maintain its interaction with the external environment, which will have even greater value in the environment of rapid change. Recently, scholars have focused on the impact of various dynamic digital capabilities on service innovation, such as the positive impact of big data analysis capabilities on service innovation [30]. To ensure the smooth progress of digital transformation, enterprises need corresponding reorganization and updates in organizational structure and corporate culture to promote the improvement of their dynamic capabilities [31][32][33]. Some scholars have concluded that effective interaction between digitalization and servitization can have a positive impact on enterprise innovation. However, an empirical study found that the interaction between low-level digitalization and high-level servitization has a significant negative impact on corporate performance [34]. Digital transformation positively influences dynamic capability, and innovation capability, as a part of dynamic capability, is also affected by digital transformation. From the perspective of organizational change, digital transformation can be regarded as a process of enterprises using digital technology to promote the transformation and innovation of their production service operational mode [35][36].
Regarding the relationship between digital investment and innovation performance, at the enterprise level, some scholars have noted that at a given level of innovation expenditure, enterprise IT input is closely related to innovation output [37]. Others have found that information technology has a significant positive impact on enterprise innovation performance [38], and digital technology can promote business model innovation [39]. Through the implementation of digital investment, enterprises can improve the skill level of human resources and thus enhance their stock and quality of human capital [40]. Some scholars have conducted empirical research on Chinese manufacturing enterprises and found that technological human capital has a significant positive impact on enterprise innovation performance [41]. Digital technology can solve problems of employee redundancy and inefficiency, help employees gain relevant new knowledge and experience and ultimately contribute to the learning capacity of the organization. The skills, knowledge and experience acquired by employees will enable them to adapt quickly to disruptive and structural economic changes in the digital economy and accelerate digital transformation within the organization. If the skills of the employees are matched with the organization’s technical needs, the enabling effect will be further amplified, enabling the enterprise to gain competitiveness and creating higher enterprise value [23][42][43][44][45]. Digital business models and intelligent manufacturing modes can quickly respond to consumer demands and improve the ability to cope with changes in the external market environment, thus establishing the competitiveness of product development and innovation for enterprises [46][47]. Reid and Miedzinski (1996) proposed that enterprise green innovation has a valuable symbiosis function, and the special symbiotic relationship between eco-oriented innovation and economy-oriented innovation in green innovation can promote the improvement of ecological and economic performance and ultimately achieve the optimal allocation of resources. Therefore, enterprises should be encouraged to practice the sustainable development strategy of “harmonious coexistence” and take the initiative in green innovation [48].

2.3. Influencing Factors of Green Innovation

From the perspective of influencing factors of green innovation, the literature suggests that the main determinants of enterprise green innovation are the marketization mechanism, regulation and political influence. There are two ways to motivate enterprises to carry out green innovation: one is to force them to do so through environmental regulation, and the other is to encourage them through market mechanisms. In terms of demand, scholars made use of a sample study of 2000 enterprises in Ireland and found that the environmental awareness of the public and consumers’ conceptualization of green can influence the green innovation of enterprises [49]. In terms of regulation, strict environmental regulation will affect enterprises’ environmental responsibility and promote their green innovation. Porter [50] proposed that environmental regulation can promote enterprises’ green technology innovation. Subsequently, Portugal [51] tested the relationship between environmental regulation and enterprise green innovation and found that the positive impact of environmental regulation on enterprise green transformation was gradually weakened. In addition, a large number of studies have focused on the effect of government subsidies on new energy industry policies, such as the impact of government production subsidies on corporate profitability [52].

2.4. Sustainable Growth for Energy Enterprises

Energy industry enterprises are focused on sustainable growth. Based on the current trends, challenges and market demands of the energy industry, some scholars have proposed the use of a game theory tool that allows energy enterprises to form many possible parameters of salary optimization structure and maximizes the utility of employees by motivating them in the communication department of energy enterprises [53].
In the context of the rapid development of science and technology, enterprises in the energy industry continue to introduce new technologies, goods, services and organizational mechanisms in their activities to survive, improve their competitive position, enter new markets and gain greater profits. Considering the industry characteristics of fuel and energy enterprises, some scholars put forward a method to evaluate the inclusive social responsibility status of enterprises in the energy industry and study and predict the potential negative impact of the innovative activities of enterprises in the energy industry on society and the environment to improve their competitiveness [54].


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