How to harness the digital transformation towards sustainability: Fostering a resilient and inclusive digitalization in Finland

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Creative Sustainability
As sustainable development and digitalization continue to be prominent megatrends in society, they are becoming increasingly interconnected and thus should be examined as a unified research area. This thesis explores the synergy between digitalization and sustainability, focusing on fostering digital transformation to achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, it has a particular emphasis on resiliency and inclusion in digitalization policies and strategies. In the literature review, the research highlights the academic gap in digitalization impacts on the achievement of sustainability objectives, and the need for a research domain that studies the relationship between these two global trends. Using Finland as a case study, this thesis applies qualitative research methods, including document analysis and content analysis of selected occasions. It draws upon cross-ministerial Finnish government publications on digitalization, sustainability, and beyond, as well as meetings and events involving high-caliber, cross-sector stakeholders. The findings show that Finland is a global leader in digitalization for sustainability and has been incorporating plans to utilize digital technologies to foster sustainable development. However, key challenges for the process would include the optimization of technologies, lack of reflective policies, lack of multi-stakeholder collaborations, as well as the need to improve general digital readiness and awareness. To overcome these barriers, Finland must enhance cross-sector collaboration involving businesses, academia, third-sector organizations, and the government. This collaborative governance approach would bridge the gaps between policy and implementation, as well as research and practice. Ultimately, it will lead to more effective technologies, policies, and practices that further advance digitalization towards sustainability. As for its contribution, the thesis adds to the literature on digital transformation and sustainability by consolidating existing knowledge and providing a comprehensive overview of current academic discussion. Furthermore, it offers practical contributions by providing a set of research-based recommendations for policymakers and practitioners.
Thesis advisor
Sahimaa, Olli
digitalization for sustainability, sustainability, digitalization, digital sustainability, ethics and governance, inclusivity, resiliency, management