Article

Books from an environmental perspective—Part 1: environmental impacts of paper books sold in traditional and internet bookshops

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Abstract

Purpose The sale and distribution of books are activities that have changed through increased use of the internet. The main aim of this paper was to determine the potential environmental impacts of paper books and identify key issues determining the magnitude of those impacts. A second aim was to study the environmental difference between a paper book bought in a traditional bookshop and through an internet bookshop. In addition, areas with a lack of data and major uncertainties were to be noted. Materials and methods A screening life cycle assessment was performed on an average hardback novel produced and read in Sweden. The data used were general data from Ecoinvent 2.0 and site-specific data from companies participating in the study, whenever average data were not available. Results and discussion The results showed the most important processes to be pulp and paper production. However, if a substantial distance was travelled by car, to buy a book or collect it, this had a major influence on the environmental performance. Comparing the two bookshop alternatives, the results showed a slight benefit for the internet bookshop due to fewer books being returned to the publisher and the avoidance of energy use at the traditional bookshop. The buyer of a book could significantly influence the total impact by choosing to walk to the bookshop or to combine the trip with several other activities to decrease the impact of the travel per activity performed. When books ordered via the internet were sent by postal services directly to the end consumer, the climate change impact was lowered. Conclusions This study showed that, in addition to the paper used, the way books are bought and distributed, including possible personal transportation, can significantly affect the total environmental impact of paper books. The impact per book read can be significantly decreased by sharing books with others.

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... In addition, areas with a lack of data and major uncertainties were to be noted. More information on the scope of the study and the inventory data is given in Borggren and Moberg (2009) with appendices. The paper book used for comparison is described in a separate paper (Borggren et al. 2011). ...
... More information on the scope of the study and the inventory data is given in Borggren and Moberg (2009) with appendices. The paper book used for comparison is described in a separate paper (Borggren et al. 2011). ...
... The intention was to study an e-book in general, and general data were preferred. However, in several cases general data were not available and in these cases company-and site-specific data were used as approximations, as described below and in more detail in Borggren and Moberg (2009) with appendices. The data used were average (not marginal) data in line with an attributional LCA (Tillman 2000). ...
Article
Purpose Information and communication technology (ICT) has been proposed as a means to facilitate environmental sustainability. Dematerialisation is one potential way of doing this. For books, this could be realized through using e-book readers, which share many of the qualities of printed media and have notably low-energy requirements during use. The main aim of this study was to analyse the environmental impacts of an e-book read on an e-book reader, and to identify key issues determining the magnitude of the impact. A second aim was to compare the e-book product system with a paper book product system using a life cycle perspective. Materials and methods A screening LCA was performed on an e-book produced and read in Sweden. The e-book reader was assumed to be produced in China. The data used were general data from Ecoinvent 2.0 and site-specific data from companies participating in the study, whenever average data were not available. Results and discussion The results showed that production of the e-book reader was the life cycle step contributing most to the environmental impact of the system studied, although data on the e-ink screen were lacking. The disposal phase leads to avoided impact as materials are recycled; however, these results are less certain due to limited data availability. When the e-book was compared with a paper book, the results indicated that the number of books read on the e-book reader during its lifetime was crucial when evaluating its environmental performance compared with paper books. The results indicate that there are impact categories and circumstances where paper books are preferable to e-books from an environmental perspective and vice versa. Conclusions There is no single answer as to which book is better from an environmental perspective according to the results of the current study. To improve the e-book environmental performance, an e-book reader should be used frequently, the life time of the device should be prolonged, as far as possible, and when not in use anymore, the device should be disposed of in a proper way, making material recycling possible. In addition, the production of the e-reader should be energy efficient and striving towards minimisation of toxic and rare substances.
... However, the extent of the actual environmental impact is highly dependent on the level of several variables. Life Cycle Assessment Borggren et al. [24] Analysing the environmental impact of online and in-store shopping of paper books and Sweden Data from interviews and supplementary data from the internet for Online shopping has a lower global warming potential defining key factors influencing the extent of these impact the selected bookshop, interview with a logistics company Sivaraman et al. [25] The authors assess and compare the impact of the traditional retail channel and e-commerce on DVD rental. USA Study from the perspective of a fictional customer living in the city of Ann Abor, Michigan ...
... In conventional retailing, each shop also forms a kind of decentralised warehouse, whereas in e-fulfilment centres the products are concentrated in one place [15]. Therefore, Borggren et al. [24] assume that in conventional retailing more products have to be produced for one item sold. This not only renders the emissions and energy consumption from production pointless but can also set additional transport processes in motion. ...
... Borggren et al. [24] included additional packaging for products in online retail in their calculations. Sivaraman et al. [25] noted differences in the online and offline channels, as in the former case a single plastic DVD case is replaced by a plastic case with the company logo at the distribution centre and in the latter case the plastic case is replaced by a paper sleeve package at the regional warehouse. ...
Article
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In the scientific literature, there are numerous studies with different approaches and focuses on assessing the environmental impact of online shopping and shopping in the traditional retail channel. The aim of this work is to analyse scientific studies that quantitatively assess the environmental impact of transport activities in both channels and to extract the factors used for this assessment. A literature search was conducted for the period 2006 to October 2020, with 90 studies shortlisted, of which 15 studies were identified as relevant in a screening process. The analysis showed that a different number of factors is included in the selected studies. Logistics-related and behavioural factors are mostly of similar importance. Third-order effects, such as rebound or complementary effects, are rarely considered. Furthermore, it becomes clear that the results also depend on differences in study design and external factors. This work illustrates the complexity of quantitatively assessing the environmental impact of online and in-store shopping. Caution is advised when deriving recommendations for action from general statements about the environmental friendliness of a distribution channel. The 15 factors found, together with the classification method used, form a solid basis for building new models.
... While the existing body of research is indecisive about the overall effects of e-commerce, our review shows that the energy efficiency of e-commerce can be determined by five factors: product waste and product returns, buildings, packaging, passenger transport and freight transport (Borggren et al., 2011;Mangiaracina et al., 2015;Williams and Tagami, 2003). However, only a few of the current studies consider all the factors. ...
... In a study of clothing, Wiese et al. (2012) found that product return rates have positive effects on traditional channels. Borggren et al. (2011) show that the number of unsold books and product returns is decisive for total energy consumption in their study of books, while Edwards et al. (2010) highlight that the CO 2 emissions depend to a great extent on the proportion and method of product returns. For instance, the CO 2 emissions are 12 times greater if products are returned on a separate car trip compared to if they are collected on a subsequent delivery round. ...
... The total energy consumption of buildings refers to utility consumption, such as electricity, water, gas and district heating (Borggren, 2011;van Loon et al. 2014). This energy factor varies between conventional trade and e-commerce, since the energy consumption in stores usually is higher than in warehouses (Caudill et al. 2000;Cohen, 2001;Williams and Tagani, 2003;Gay et al. 2005;Sivarmaran et al., 2007;Weber et al. 2008;Velasques et al. 2010;Weber et al. 2010;Borggren et al. 2011;Rizet et al., 2012;van Loon et al. 2014;Mangiaracina et al. 2015). ...
Article
The purpose is to analyse and explain factors determining whether conventional trade with stores or e-commerce with home delivery is more energy-efficient. The findings from previous studies are compared in order to identify more general patterns of energy consumption, describe which energy consumption factors (product waste and product returns, buildings, packaging, passenger transport and freight transport) are considered and what assumptions are made. In this comparison, we analyse product characteristics and product classes, discuss the energy factors with the greatest impact and the contextual impact of each factor on the energy consumption. The paper is based on a structured literature review and a content analysis, which helped us to synthesise current knowledge and explain consistent and inconsistent findings across individual studies of energy consumption in conventional sales channels versus e-commerce channels. Our literature search identified 11 studies, with 16 cases, that compared the energy efficiency. The results show the following: 1) The net effect of energy consumption was in the majority of the cases positive for the e-commerce channel, 2) The proportion of unsold products and product returns seem to have a major impact on the energy efficiency of different sales channels, 3) Buildings had only a minor effect on the energy consumption difference. It was slightly lower in the home delivery systems, 4) Packaging contributed considerably to the energy consumption difference for some products. The e-commerce channel consumed generally more energy from packaging, but indirect effects (e.g. volume efficiency) were not considered, and 5) The total energy consumption from transportation was greater in the conventional supply chains, as the additional energy in passenger transport generally outweighed the increased energy in freight transport in e-commerce. The paper points out directions for future research and discusses implications for research, policy-making and practice.
... B2C e-commerce is therefore generally held to have a negative environmental impact due to the individual packaging needed to ship a few products directly to the customers (e.g. Borggren et al., 2011;Van Loon et al., 2014) and to the additional protective packaging needed to deliver these items by express courier . In this regard, the impact of shopping bags used by customers in conventional shopping is usually lower because of the limited amount of packaging used . ...
... Matthews et al. (2001) focussed on the hazardous waste generated by trucking, air freight, packaging, fuel production, and book production. More recently, Borggren et al. (2011) observed that distribution of books to traditional bookshops requires less packaging than distribution via internet bookshops. ...
Purpose – Given the importance of logistics operations in business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce and growing interest in the related environmental effects, the purpose of this paper is to offer an up-to-date literature review on the topic of B2C e-commerce environmental sustainability, specifically from a logistics perspective. Design/methodology/approach – The analysis focussed on a set of 56 papers published from 2001 to 2014 in 38 peer-reviewed international journals. The papers were analyzed and categorized according to the main features of the paper, the research method(s) adopted and the themes tackled. Findings – There is a growing interest in sustainability issues. In the last 14 years, the focus has progressively shifted from the mere identification of the wide-ranging environmental effects of e-commerce to the need for a quantitative evaluation of their impact, although much remains to be done in this regard. Some industries, such as books and grocery, have largely been addressed, however, promising sectors in the e-commerce field, such as clothing and consumer electronics, have only been considered to a certain degree. Moreover, despite the emerging role of multichannel strategies, the environmental implications of the related logistics activities have not yet been studied in detail. Originality/value – B2C e-commerce has grown in popularity, and its environmental implications are currently of key interest. This paper contributes to the understanding of the existing body of knowledge on this topic, presenting an up-to-date classification of articles and highlighting themes for further research activities. From a managerial perspective, this paper helps supply chain managers develop a clear understanding of both the logistics areas with the most impact on environmental sustainability and the KPIs used to quantify the environmental implications of e-commerce logistics operations comprehensively and effectively.
... Printed materials. Some researchers and organizations have estimated the carbon footprint of printed information resources, such as books, journals and newspapers (see, for example, Borggren et al., 2011;Chowdhury, 2012a, c;Kozak and Keolelan, 2003;Moberg et al., 2010Moberg et al., , 2011Reed Elsevier, n.d.): whereas others have discussed and compared the environmental costs of printed and digital materials (for details see Enroth, 2009;Moberg et al., 2011;Ritch, 2009). However, these studies vary quite significantly in terms of estimating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of printed books. ...
... However, these studies vary quite significantly in terms of estimating the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of printed books. For example, the estimate by Borggren et al. (2011) produced a value of 2.1 kg CO 2 eq/ kg over its lifetime in a lower environmental impact per book than Kozak and Keolelan's (2003) 6.3 kg CO 2 and higher than Enroth's (2009) estimate that an equivalent of 0.6 kg CO 2 is generated by each printed book, as opposed to 7.46 kg of CO2 generated in the Cleantech study (Ritch, 2009): and 10.2 kg reported by the Babcock Management School study (Blueskymodel.org, 2008). ...
Article
Environmental issues are one of today’s growing concerns. Numerous associations, organizations and individuals are waging an active world preservation campaign. The purpose of this pilot study is to examine an important aspect of library directors’ attitudes towards environmental protection and the level of their concerns and green practices regarding sustainable development that has generally been overlooked in the literature. Multiple means of data collection (interviews, observation and document analysis) involving 14 libraries in China were conducted between March and May 2015; seven main thematic areas emerged from the data, such as: levels of awareness and commitment to sustainability issues in Chinese libraries are relatively low, and the current efficiency of facilities and operations have been seriously wasted. These findings indicate that the main priority of the library has been to attain economic and social development rather than environmental sustainability, while ignoring the energy costs and serious waste to some extent in the rapid development process of the Chinese library. The author notes just from observation of daily practices that there is definitely room for improvement to minimize the negative impact of their activities on the environment. This paper discusses for the first time the library directors’ concerns and attitudes towards “going green” and sustainability. The ideas are expected to inform and improve library directors’ environmental consciousness and sustainable practices, as well as open new vistas for research into the economic, social and environmental sustainability of library information services. How to achieve the social, economic and environmental requirements of present and future generations from libraries, especially library environmental sustainability is discussed intensively.
... For hardcovers, we recorded the mass, the cover area (the sum of the front, back, and binding area) and the thickness of the cover. Like Borggren et al. (2011), we used core board data for the hardcover's cover and wood-free coated data for the paperback's cover (Table 1). We converted cover area to mass using 350 g/m 2 (SCG packaging, 0000) for core board's mass. ...
... -18 Watt per hour operational energy use for lamps (United States Department of Energy, 2012) -2 h of reading Other research has omitted ink since it represents less than 1% of the total weight of the system (Kozak, 2003). Borggren et al. (2011) used 14% return rates at bookstores and 0.05% for internet purchases based on conversations with retailers. This does not include overproduction of books (termed remainders), a common practice in book retail. ...
Article
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To purchase environmentally-responsible gifts that are well-received by recipients, transparency in reporting welfare gain (gift value to recipient) and environmental impact are important. As a step toward greater transparency, we compared the environmental impact and welfare gain of books and DVDs received as gifts. We used life cycle assessment (LCA) to compare gift impact using two functional units: (1) one gift, and (2) two hours of in-home visual entertainment for one person. We assessed two retail scenarios for each gift: (1) online purchase with home delivery, and (2) store purchase. Results from a survey of 1000 individuals indicated that welfare gains were large and significant for books and DVDs in all price ranges. The price of the gift was significant (p<0.001 for books and DVDs) in determining welfare gain. Relationship to the giver was not significant (p = 0.060) in determining welfare gain for books, but it was for DVDs (p = 0.037) with partners choosing higher welfare gain gifts. Results indicated lower environmental impacts across all categories for e-commerce. The global warming potential (GWP) of DVDs or paperbacks ordered online was almost equivalent (2.13 and 2.12 kg CO 2 eq., respectively). Ordering hardcovers online more than doubled GWP (4.58 kg CO 2 eq.). DVD GWP was highly sensitive to impact from movie creation and film popularity. Using different estimates of film impact and viewings increased DVD production impact from 1.21 to between 7.2870 and 17.78 kg CO 2 equivalents per DVD, making both paperback and hardcover books ecologically preferable in GWP terms. Using the second functional unit of 2 h of in-home visual entertainment for one person, book GWP dropped (1.3035 and 0.8995 kg CO 2 eq. for hardcovers and paperbacks purchased in-store, respectively). While the impact of DVDs also dropped, even with 4 individuals viewing the movie at the same time, the GWP per functional unit remained higher for DVDs (at 1.5545 kg CO 2 eq.). This study is a novel combination of LCA and economic surveys to better inform consumer gift choices and potentially impact consumer behavior. Results demonstrate that books and DVDs were high welfare gain and low impact gifts; impact from driving to the store exceeded gift production impact.
... The book designer was present (and paid) from the start as member of the book team, and she designed a unique typeface as well as analysed, proposed and made choices regarding printing, paper, binding, protective cover, etc., all from a staunch sustainability perspective (Borggren et al., 2011). Beyond the ecological footprint of the printed book, she considered distribution and circulation, which led to a fourth 'exhibit' in the book with an external collaborator, a visualtypographic essay about sharing, reusing, recycling, etc., the book -hence the title Share This Bookand its cover as start of the exhibit. ...
... Having consumers travel to a pick-up point could also influence the results (e.g. Borggren et al., 2011), unless the pick-up coincides with a "traditional" shopping trip. Comparative LCAs indicate that distribution of products through e-commerce instead of traditional commerce could reduce GHG emissions, although with a large variation and uncertainty concerning the exact impact (Williams and Tang, 2012). ...
Article
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can have both negative and positive impacts on the environment. Immediate negative environmental impacts arise due to the production, use and disposal of ICT products, while positive effects can arise because ICT products and services replace other products. Other, more indirect consequences of introducing new technologies include e.g. that money saved by reducing costs due to ICT-induced energy efficiency, is being used in consumption of other goods and services that also need energy in their production. Such effects are examined within different disciplines under headings such as rebound effects, indirect effects, second order effects and ripple effects. This paper presents a review and discussion of different second order effects that can be linked to ICT usage in general, using e-commerce as an example. This is a first necessary step in developing methods which include second order effects when analysing the environmental impacts of ICT.
... kg CO 2 -equiv.) over its lifetime (Borggren et al., 2011;Ritch, 2009) but far less than the 218 kg CO 2 -equiv. estimated by Kozac (2003). ...
Article
Knowledge of the carbon footprint (CF) of a scientific publication can help to guide changes in behavior for mitigating global warming. A knowledge gap, however, still exists in academic circles. We quantified the CF of a publication by parameterizing searches, downloads, reading, and writing in the processes of publication with both direct and indirect emissions covered. We proposed a time-loaded conversion coefficient to transfer indirect emissions to final consumers. A questionnaire survey, certification database of Energy Star, fixed-asset databases specific to our campus, and reviewed life-cycle-assessment studies on both print media and electronic products were integrated with Monte Carlo simulations to quantify uncertainties. The average CF [(CI: 95%), SD] of a scientific publication was 5.44 kg CO2-equiv. [(1.65, 14.78), 4.97], with 37.65 MJ [(0.00, 71.32), 30.40] of energy consumed. Reading the literature contributed the most, followed by writing and searching. A sensitivity analysis indicated that reading efficiency, the proportion of e-reading, and reference quantity were the most dominant of 52 parameters. Durable media generated a higher CF (4.24 kg CO2-equiv.) than consumable media (1.35 kg CO2-equiv.) due to both direct and indirect reasons. Campus policy makers should thus not promote the substitution of e-reading for print reading at the present stage, because their environmental advantages are highly dependent on time-loaded and behavioral factors. By comparison, replacing desktops with laptops is more attractive, by potentially reducing CFs by 50% and the disproportionate consumption of energy.
... function [18][19][20][21]. In these comparisons, reductions in GHG emissions and energy consumption may be achieved with ICT in certain contexts, depending on sensitive parameters including the number of ICT devices considered, the frequency of ICT use, transport distances and the energy mix. ...
Conference Paper
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An LCA was conducted on a novel Telco-grade cloud technology. Server cloudification has been found to significantly reduce the environmental life cycle impacts as compared to a non-cloud situation. Improving service quality is possible without drastically increasing the life cycle impacts as compared to the non-cloud situation. In this LCA, a novel methodology was used to model electricity flows during ICT use to better reflect the temporal variation in electricity generation by utilities and electricity consumption by ICT. Nevertheless , numerous methodological challenges remain unresolved and more research is required to improve the LCA methodological framework for ICT.
... Some LCA studies on ICT have revealed that ICT manufacturing generates more impacts than ICT use [14,15] -or at least represents a significant part of the life cycle impacts [16,17]. LCA is also used to compare ICT systems and conventional options that provide the same function [18][19][20][21]. In these comparisons, reductions in GHG emissions and energy consumption may be achieved with ICT in certain contexts, depending on sensitive parameters including the number of ICT devices considered, the frequency of ICT use, transport distances and the energy mix. ...
Conference Paper
An LCA was conducted on a novel Telco-grade cloud technology. Server cloudification has been found to significantly reduce the environmental life cycle impacts as compared to a non-cloud situation. Improving service quality is possible without drastically increasing the life cycle impacts as compared to the non-cloud situation. In this LCA, a novel methodology was used to model electricity flows during ICT use to better reflect the temporal variation in electricity generation by utilities and electricity consumption by ICT. Nevertheless, numerous methodological challenges remain unresolved and more research is required to improve the LCA methodological framework for ICT.
... It is the practices of users, developers and hosting companies and not the infrastructure that are the focus of this study. Many studies have already attempted to calculate the impacts of the Internet infrastructure partially or as a whole (Müller et al., 2013;Koomey, 2008;Mayers et al., 2015;Borggren, 2011;Hochschorner & Moberg, 2015;Gard & Keoleian, 2002). There were multiple studies that compared the Internet as a delivery medium to traditional delivery methods in various industries including music, newspaper and gaming (Gard & Keoleian, 2002;Hochschorner, 2015;Weber et al., 2010). ...
... The best weight estimate for an average paper book is suggested to be 600 grams (Borggren et al., 2011) and the total consumer sales in 2010 is estimated to be 339 million copies (The Publishers Association, 2012). Consumer books make up 1.8% of the total mass flow of paper in the United Kingdom. ...
Conference Paper
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Material consumption is an important driver for environmental pollution. Total material throughput can be reduced through the extension of product life. The paper suggests Material Flow Analysis (MFA) as a method to assess the potential material throughput reductions due to increased product longevity. The method is applied to the case of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) and paper products. The paper first collates data from different sources to give an overview of material inputs and outputs for both material/product categories in the United Kingdom. Subsequently, it reviews the literature for a selection of interventions and calculates the potential savings in the total material throughput. For EEE, the analysis emphasises the issue of optimal life times that need to balance the impact generated in the production phase and during the use of the product. For paper, a key issue is the practical limitations on reusing a material that is easily damaged and worn. It is concluded that there is considerable potential for MFA in estimating the impacts of product life extension on material through put although limitations in data availability and quality are acknowledged.
... Nowadays, customers have access to a company's website anywhere in the world and companies can reach their customers wherever its location. E-commerce opened new horizons to reach global services and has shortened the gap between companies and consumers (Borggren, Moberg, & Finnveden, 2011;Malik et al., 2012). ...
Article
The purpose of this research is to analyze the role of digital influencers in the construction of relationships between companies and consumers. A qualitative methodology was used, whereby seven Portuguese service providers were interviewed. The results obtained demonstrate that companies' hire digital influencers to publicize their products, create notoriety, build a trustworthy image, and increase sales. It was also found that the most used platform for digital strategies is Instagram, due to its ease of communication and number of active users. Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that the traceability of sales related to digital influencers is quantifiable through tools such as Google Analytics, discount coupons, number of site visits generated, and also the increment of followers on digital promotions days. This research contributes to scientific knowledge as it validates the theoretical constructs developed on the role of digital influencers in the establishment of relationships between brands and consumers and confronts them with the business reality. Finally, some suggestions for future line of investigation are presented. https://bbronline.com.br/index.php/bbr/article/view/671
... Only some studies assessed the environmental impact in a comprehensive set of (up to 15) impact categories (Achachlouei and Moberg, 2015;Borggren et al., 2011;Cerdas et al., 2017;Gangolells et al., 2015;Lelah et al., 2011;Mirabella et al., 2013;Moberg et al., 2011Moberg et al., , 2010bSivaraman et al., 2007;Subramanian and Yung, 2017). More than half of all studies focused on only one or two impact categories. ...
Article
Information and communication technology (ICT) is often considered a technology for reducing environmental emissions by increasing energy and resource efficiencies of processes. However, due to other effects of ICT, such as rebound and induction effects, the net benefits of ICT in terms of environmental impact are by no means assured. Even though the relevance of indirect or higher order effects has become a well-known issue in recent years, their environmental assessment remains controversial. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is one of the most established environmental assessment methods for modelling the environmental effects of goods and services throughout their life cycle. Although LCA is traditionally rather product-focused, there exist also LCA-based approaches to assess higher order effects of technology replacement and optimization. This paper examines whether and how LCA case studies on environmental effects of ICT already take into account related higher order effects. A systematic review of scientific literature published since 2005 has been conducted and 25 case studies were analyzed in detail. The following research questions were addressed: i) Which products are assessed? ii) Which higher order effects of ICT are considered; and iii) how is the integration of higher order effects methodically realized? The results show that few case studies were concerned with the environmental effects of the introduction of ICT services in commerce, telework and monitoring and control. Most studies investigated the substitution of certain media with electronic devices or digital services. It was found that technology-based higher order effects, such as optimization and substitution, are usually included in the assessment by choosing comparative study designs, while user-related higher order effects, such as rebound effects and induction effects, are less often considered. For the latter effects, methodological integration was mainly provided by scenario modelling and sensitivity analysis. Overall, most studies chose an attributional LCA approach. It can be concluded from the results that, in particular, user-related effects such as rebound effects have not yet been frequently included in the environmental assessment of ICT. The identified research gaps include in particular interdisciplinary approaches on how changing use patterns can be more strongly observed in LCA.
... This was mainly due to returns of unsold books from the store; excluding this aspect resulted in almost no difference between the two purchasing options. A similar study is described in the publication from Borggren and co-authors [6], who concluded that "in addition to the paper used, the way books are bought and distributed, including possible personal transportation, can significantly affect the total environmental impact of paper books". ...
Article
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Which way of purchasing your clothes results in the lowest environmental impacts: “running” into the next big city to “plunder” the various clothing stores, or searching through a plethora of online shops and ordering your next shirt directly to you at home? So far, no such comparison has been published. The aim of this study is to get a first basic idea of which of these two consumer choices is the more environmentally sustainable by assessing the potential environmental impacts related to one person’s annual purchases of clothing through a simplified life cycle assessment. The study shows that going to a nearby city for shopping is not necessarily worse compared to online purchasing. When a person uses their own car, travel from home to the city and back is responsible for a sizeable amount of the potential impacts. However, the potential impacts of travel are heavily influenced by the means of transport (i.e., use of public transport rather than personal car) and the frequency of shopping excursions over the year. Overall, the potential impacts per single clothing item purchased could be in a similar range for both means of purchase.
... According to Horner et al. (2016), decisive factors are population density (based on delivery in the last mile), freight mode, product return rate, trip allocation (share of multi-purpose trips) and type of packaging. This is also shown by Borggren et al. (Borggren et al., 2011). The authors compared paper books sold by traditional vs. online book shops and concluded that the internet bookshop was slightly beneficial. ...
Article
This article investigates the effect of digitalization on energy consumption. Using an analytical model, we investigate four effects: (1) direct effects from the production, usage and disposal of information and communication technologies (ICT), (2) energy efficiency increases from digitalization, (3) economic growth from increases in labor and energy productivities and (4) sectoral change/tertiarization from the rise of ICT services. The analysis combines empirical and theoretical findings from debates on decoupling energy consumption from economic growth and from debates on green IT and ICT for sustainability. Our main results: Effects 1 and 3 tend to increase energy consumption. Effects 2 and 4 tend to decrease it. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that the two increasing effects prevail so that, overall, digitalization increases energy consumption. These results can be explained by four insights from ecological economics: (a) physical capital and energy are complements in the ICT sector, (b) increases in energy efficiency lead to rebound effects, (c) ICT cannot solve the difficulty of decoupling economic growth from exergy, (d) ICT services are relatively energy intensive and come on top of former production. In future, digitalization can only boost sustainability when it fosters effects 2 and 4 without promoting effects 1 and 3.
... Previous research shows that returns of products are typically higher in online channels and unsold products are larger in traditional retailing (Pålsson et al. 2017) and that the impacts of returns and losses could be significant for some products (Mangiaracina et al. 2015, Pålsson et al. 2017. Whether the overall effect of product returns and losses is lower for online shopping or for traditional shopping is controversial (Borggren et al. 2011, Wiese et al. 2012, Pålsson et al. 2017. A number of studies argue that returns are negligible for FMCGs (Edwards et al. 2011, van Loon et al. 2015, Allen et al. 2017). ...
... Also, packaging due to e-commerce is a significant cause of greenhouse gas emissions . Many independent parcels are mailed directly to customers or returned to merchants when returning goods (Srivastava 2007) require a large amount of protective packaging (Borggren et al. 2011;van Loon et al. 2015). B2C e-commerce is generally considered to hurt the environment, especially when cardboard packaging is used. ...
Article
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This paper made the first attempt to summarize the rules from a regional perspective and use panel data to explore the carbon Kuznets curve (CKC) between e-commerce and carbon dioxide emissions. The impact of online shopping on carbon emission has mixed conclusions. No CKC tests set mainly focuses on the e-commerce sector, which can help this research determine the relationship between e-commerce and carbon emissions. From a macro point of view, we examine both developed and developing regions by testing the CKC hypothesis. We try to explain it by exploring the econometric relationship between e-commerce and CO2 emissions. At first, we attempt to accurately measure the CO2 emissions by carefully distinguishing the carbon emission increments caused by the primary energy resulting from the secondary energy. Then, we use panel data collected from different Chinese cities during 2001–2017. The analyzed variables are stationary at their first differences with the LLC test, IPS test, Fisher-ADF test, Fisher-PP test, CADF, and CIPS unit root tests. The analyzed variables are cointegrated by employing the Pedroni panel cointegration test, the Kao panel cointegration test, and the Westerlund panel cointegration test. Using the DOLS, we also find that increases in trade openness decrease carbon emissions while increases in foreign direct investment (FDI) and market size contribute to the level of emissions. The quadratic-shape CKC hypothesis is supported for China, Eastern China, and Western China, and it is an inverted “U” shape. The cubic-form CKC is supported for Central China, and it is an “N” shape. Our study provides important insights for enacting regional and country-level e-commerce regulations and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
... This assumption might hold for stand-alone purchases such as books, as suggested by Borggren et al. (2011). They conclude: "buying the book via an internet bookshop and getting it delivered resulted in the lowest potential global warming impact". ...
Article
Internet, digitalisation and access to technology have transformed contemporary consumption patterns and habits. Whether or not these changes hold beneficial or detrimental implications for society is subject to ongoing debate. Specifically concerning the environmental impacts of online and omnichannel retail, claims have been made on both sides: crediting the efficiency of home deliveries versus individual shopping trips on the one hand and pointing out complex consumer behaviour on the other hand. Despite intensive research efforts, a solid consensus lacks. The disperse and contradicting scientific knowledge base that is currently available prevents policymakers and practitioners from implementing sustainability improving measures and from steering consumers towards sustainable practices. Supported by a systematic review of the literature, this article presents a framework for understanding the net environmental sustainability of shopping. The debate is broken down in three impact categories that need to be considered simultaneously: individual purchases, consumer behaviour and consumption geography. The majority of research articles focus on the environmental impact of purchasing a single item or a basket of items, in which in-store purchases are substituted by purchases online. Such studies conclude in favour of e-commerce. The balance shifts when taking changes in behaviour and geography into consideration. While behavioural reflections are on the rise, hardly any empirical work takes the spatial (re)organisation of businesses and consumers into account. The article surpasses the case-study approach and in doing so comprises the body of literature in a solid framework that is able to guide future discussions and research in more sustainable directions.
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Ao pensar sobre sustentabilidade de produto, é comum uma avaliação que envolva apenas os processos de fabricação e suas condições de descarte. Produtos como livros, eletrônicos ou impressos, por exemplo, têm pouca análise sob a ótica da sustentabilidade em relação ao seu uso pelos leitores. Neste contexto, um fator determinante, é o hábito de leitura, pois suas características podem modificar inclusive funcionalidades e possibilidades de reuso. A partir disto, o presente estudo buscou identificar boas práticas que auxiliem o designer em projetos editoriais ambientalmente amigáveis. Começando desde o auxílio à decisão em fazer um ebook ou livro impresso, até as características do projeto gráfico, da diagramação e da produção gráfica. Para levantar como desenvolver projetos editoriais mais sustentáveis, foi realizada uma revisão de literatura e uma pesquisa de campo que consultou 152 leitores. Foram identificadas e organizadas boas práticas que tratam desde aspectos ergonômicos e formas de diagramação, segundo a finalidade de uso e formas de impressão com menos impacto, além de considerar o aspecto emocional entre livro e leitor.
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Climate change has become a major area of concern over the past few years and consequently many governments, international bodies, businesses, and institutions are taking measures to reduce their carbon footprint. However, to date very little research has taken place on information and sustainable development in general, and on the environmental impact of information services in particular. Based on the data collected from various research papers and reports, this review article shows that information systems and services for the higher education and research sector currently generate massive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and it is argued that there is an urgent need for developing a green information service, or green IS in short, that should be based on minimum GHG emissions throughout its lifecycle, from content creation to distribution, access, use, and disposal. Based on an analysis of the current research on green information technology (IT), it is proposed that a green IS should be based on the model of cloud computing. Finally, a research agenda is proposed that will pave the way for building and managing green ISs to support education and research/scholarly activities.
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Abstract Technology is changing the way we read, with printed material being replaced by electronically published text such as e-books and e-newspapers. Although digitally published texts offer some advantages over printed material in terms of cost and ease of access, it is not immediately clear whether e-reading is environmentally a more sustainable alternative to conventional reading. Therefore, this paper reviews the literature and compares the environmental impacts of the two reading alternatives, taking a life cycle approach. The review of various studies indicates that there are large variations in the impacts for e-readers as well as the printed material, mainly owing to different assumptions. Nevertheless, the results of this work indicate clearly that e-reading can only be environmentally sustainable at very high usage rates, as manufacturing of e-readers has relatively high environmental impacts.
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With the increasing dominance of digital reading over traditional reading, gaining an understanding of the environmental impacts of the formats has become critical. This systematic literature review synthesizes and integrates the findings of studies comparing print reading with on-screen reading. The results reveal that the environmental impacts of printed and digital media depend on the usage rates and number of readers of both types of media as well as user behaviors and other parameters, and digital reading also has its own negative environmental impacts. Finally, research gaps are identified and a research agenda is proposed, including considering environmental performance in comparison studies, empirical investigations of actual user behaviors, and environmental savings for lending and sharing materials from libraries. This study aims to clear the misconception and change the popular stereotype that “e-reading is environmentally more sustainable than conventional reading,” and to provide stakeholders with more valuable information that is necessary to make environmentally informed decisions.
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With growing concerns about environmental problems, reducing the adverse environmental impact of consumer products is emerging as a great challenge. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is an essential tool in addressing the challenge. By examining all phases of product life cycle (i.e., production, usage, and end-of-life treatment), LCA quantifies how much environmental impact is caused by a product and how different lifecycle phases contribute to the total impact. This paper focuses on the fact that although many LCA studies are available, LCA results are too scattered in different publications, which impedes their use in enhancing sustainable consumer behavior. With an aim to help understand the environmental implications of consumer behavior and identify ways to enhance its sustainability, this paper proposes building a library of consumer product LCA. The library collects and compiles LCA data from a variety of public sources. The initial version of the library that encompasses more than 12 LCA results on 30 different types of consumer products is presented, and its potential applications are discussed.
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Arguing that environmental sustainability is a growing concern for digital information systems and services, this article proposes a simple method for estimation of the energy and environmental costs of digital libraries and information services. It is shown that several factors contribute to the overall energy and environmental costs of information and communication technology (ICT) in general and digital information systems and services in particular. It is also shown that end-user energy costs play a key role in the overall environmental costs of a digital library or information service. It is argued that appropriate user research, transaction log analysis, user modeling, and better design and delivery of services can significantly reduce the user interaction time, and thus the environmental costs, of digital information systems and services, making them more sustainable.
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Our food system is experiencing dramatic changes as the expansion of e-commerce, introduction of new products, and innovations in supply chain structures all pose to transform how we buy, sell, and distribute food. However, the environmental impacts of these transformations remain unclear. This feature reviews existing literature on environmental implications of e-commerce, discusses relevant trade-offs, and identifies pressing gaps in research. Some trade-offs discussed are those between centralized and decentralized delivery service types, those unique to a rural landscape, and those within the interplay of transportation and consumer behavior. The impacts of fulfillment centers, of refrigerated logistics, of e-commerce on consumer shopping and food waste habits, and of e-commerce services in rural regions are identified as pressing knowledge gaps.
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Consumer products are increasingly offered through renting and sharing, which are emerging as alternative business models to purchasing. These business models have the potential to environmentally benefit society through fulfilling consumer demands using fewer artifacts. Past studies performed qualitative and quantitative analysis on the extent of the benefits, but they are predominantly paired comparative studies of a traditional model with one or two alternative models. Rather than a paired comparative study, a one-to-many comparative study would be more appropriate to reveal the condition that makes a provision system more environmentally advantageous among available opportunities. To systematically compare the environmental impact of diverse provision models of consumer durables, a typology was developed based on three environmentally decisive features of business models: value capture mechanism, product provider, and the combination of associated services. When the operating business models of automobiles and books were examined using the typology, 15 and 11 models were identified, respectively. The greenhouse gas emission analysis identified decisive factors in the environmental impact of provision models among all available business options. This study presents the typology that can position current business practices, quantitatively analyze their performance, and generate alternatives for environmentally-driven business expansion.
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The present study identifies, describes and assesses in detail opportunities and threats for the Circular Economy arising from E-commerce. A broad literature research and direct stakeholder input led to the identification of 18 opportunities and 23 threats for the Circular Economy, allocated to 7 different clusters. Most of the identified threats refer to “Logistics and transport”, while opportunities refer mainly to the topics “Accessibility of information” and “Digitalisation”. By means of a comparative assessment in the current situation and future optimistic and pessimistic potential developments, the direct and indirect effects of the opportunities and threats have been evaluated, with specific focus on 7 selected product categories. In total, 11 opportunities and 16 threats have been assessed as either medium or highly relevant. The assessment revealed that most of the threats classified as highly relevant belong to the cluster “Logistics and transport”, including induced parcel transport, parcel return and inefficient transport, while most of the highly relevant opportunities are to be found in the cluster “Accessibility of information”, as in the case of second-hand commerce or product portfolio.
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Purpose The purpose of this research is to identify at what extent e-book reading reduces global warming potential (GWP) of book reading activities relative to that of reading only paper books. Past studies assume e-books and paper books are interchangeable during consumption, but adopting e-book reading can alter reading patterns in reality. This research comparatively assessed the GWP of reading only paper books and that of reading pattern of after e-reader adoption of consumer segments. Methods We computed GWP of book reading activities of consumer segments that include a life cycle of paper book, e-book, and e-book reading device. Two e-book devices were considered: a designated e-book device (e-reader) and a tablet. The functional units are book reading activities per person and per person-book, which account the number of books purchased or acquired and the reading hours per person. We collected data through a web survey in the USA. Consumer segmentation was performed by analyzing the level of importance in the aspects of book reading activities as a measurement variable. To observe the changes in reading patterns upon e-reader adoption within the same population, we conducted a 3-month social experiment involving e-readers in the USA. Results and discussion Adopting e-readers was discovered to reduce both the GWP per person and the GWP per person-book of book reading activities. The GWP of e-books read with an e-reader and the GWP of paper books were found to break even at 4.7 books per year, provided consumers read less than 11 h a day. According to the web survey, e-reader users purchase more than seven e-books annually on average, which resulted in a smaller GWP per person-book relative to that of one paper book. Furthermore, the GWP per person in the social experiment was smaller for e-reader adopters than those who only read paper books because they substituted e-books for paper books. The overall book reading volume remains unchanged upon e-reader adoption. Conclusions Adoption of e-readers reduces the GWP from book reading activities with only paper books, provided more than 4.7 paper books are substituted by e-books annually, and provided consumers’ total consumption volume remain unchanged. E-reader adopters read sufficient number of e-books to break even with paper books. However, most e-reader adopters are yet to fully abandon paper books for e-books. Analyzing the differences in the reading experience between e-books and paper books is a future task.
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هدف: هدف از پژوهش حاضر، ارزیابی کیفی وب‌سایت‌های کتاب‌فروشی‌های برخط ایران است. روش‌: این پژوهش کاربردی با استفاده از روش ارزیابانه با رویکرد وب‌سنجی انجام شده است. جامعه آن را وب‌سایت ۷۲ کتاب‌فروشی برخط معرفی‌شده از سوی خانه کتاب ایران تشکیل می‌دهد. برای گردآوری داده‌ها از سیاهه وارسی وب‌کیوای‌ام استفاده شد. داده‌های گردآوری‌شده با استفاده از نرم‌افزار اس‌پی‌اس‌اس تجزیه و تحلیل شدند. یافته‌ها: یافته‌ها نشان داد که قدمت فعالیت حدود نیمی از کتاب‌فروشان کمتر از ۱۰ سال است و بیشتر آنان متعلق به بخش خصوصی هستند. ۸۲% از آنان در سه شهر تهران، قم، و مشهد فعال هستند و بقیه نیز در ۸ شهر ایران مستقر هستند. بیش از نیمی از وب‌سایت‌ها با دامنه IR ثبت شده بود. همچنین، وب‌سایت‌ها از نظر شاخص "قابلیت استفاده" در وضعیت متوسط و در شاخص "قابلیت عملکرد" در حد خوب هستند. از نظر شاخص "قابلیت اطمینان"، در وضعیت عالی و در شاخص "کارایی" در وضعیت خیلی خوب ارزیابی شدند. ارزیابی کلی وب‌سایت‌ها حاکی از آن است که هیچ وب‌سایتی در وضعیت ضعیف قرار ندارد. بحث و نتیجه‌گیری: به‌طور کلی می‌توان گفت وب‌سایت‌ها براساس معیارهای وب‌کیوای‌ام، در وضعیت متوسط قرار دارند.
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Abstract Purpose: The current research aimed to evaluate the quality of the websites of the Iranian online bookshops. Method: This study is applied research which is conducted with the evaluative method and webometric approach. The research society consists of the websites of 72 online bookshops that are introduced by the Iran Book House. The WebQEM Checklist is applied to data gathering and SPSS is used for data analysis. Findings: The research results reveal that up to the half of the websites of the online bookshops operated less than 10 years and the majority of them are related to the private sector. 82 percent of them are operating in the three cities of Tehran, Qom, and Mashhad and the others are working in just 8 cities. More than half of the websites have registered with the IR domain. Moreover, the websites were evaluated average for the variable of "usability", good toward "functionality" as well as excellent for the "reliability" and very good in "efficiency". Generally speaking, the evaluation of the websites demonstrate that none of them were in a low status and therefore it can be concluded that all websites are in an average status toward the WebQEM criteria Keywords: Online Bookstore, Usability, Functionality, Reliability, Efficiency, Website evaluation, WQEM (Web Quality Evaluation Method).
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INTRUDUCTION: The current study aimed to evaluate the quality of the websites of the Iranian online bookshops. METHODOLOGY:This study is an applied research which is conducted with using the evaluative method and webometric approach. The research population consisted of the websites of 72 online bookshops that were introduced by the Iran Book House. The WebQEM checklist was applied to data gathering and SPSS was used for data analysis. FINDINGS:The research results revealed that about half of the websites of the online bookshops have been operative less than 10 years and the majority of them are related to the private sector. 82 percent of them are operating in the three cities of Tehran, Qom, and Mashhad and the others are working in just 8 cities. More than half of the websites have been registered with the IR domain. Moreover, the websites were evaluated as average for the variable of "usability", as good for its "functionality", as excellent for the "reliability"and as very good for its"efficiency". CONCLUSIONS: Generally speaking, the evaluation of the websites demonstrated that none of them was in a low status and therefore, it can be concluded that all websites are in an average status as to the WebQEM criteria.
Article
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INTRUDUCTION: The current study aimed to evaluate the quality of the websites of the Iranian online bookshops. METHODOLOGY:This study is an applied research which is conducted with using the evaluative method and webometric approach. The research population consisted of the websites of 72 online bookshops that were introduced by the Iran Book House. The WebQEM checklist was applied to data gathering and SPSS was used for data analysis. FINDINGS:The research results revealed that about half of the websites of the online bookshops have been operative less than 10 years and the majority of them are related to the private sector. 82 percent of them are operating in the three cities of Tehran, Qom, and Mashhad and the others are working in just 8 cities. More than half of the websites have been registered with the IR domain. Moreover, the websites were evaluated as average for the variable of "usability", as good for its "functionality", as excellent for the "reliability"and as very good for its"efficiency". CONCLUSIONS: Generally speaking, the evaluation of the websites demonstrated that none of them was in a low status and therefore, it can be concluded that all websites are in an average status as to the WebQEM criteria
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Variability in consumer practices and choices is typically not addressed in comparisons of environmental impacts of traditional shopping and e-commerce. Here, we developed a stochastic model to quantify the variability in the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprints of product distribution and purchase of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) via three prevalent retail channels in the United Kingdom (U.K.). We found that shopping via bricks and clicks (click and fulfillment via physical store delivery) most likely decreases the GHG footprints when substituting traditional shopping, while FMCGs purchased through pure players with parcel delivery often have higher GHG footprints compared to those purchased via traditional retail. The number of items purchased and the last-mile travel distance are the dominant contributors to the variability in the GHG footprints of all three retail channels. We further showed that substituting delivery vans with electric cargo bikes can lead to a GHG emission reduction of 26% via parcel delivery. Finally, we showed the differences in the "last mile" GHG footprint of traditional shopping in the U.K. compared to three other countries (China, Netherlands, and the United States), which are primarily caused by the different shares of modes of transport (walking and by car, bus, and bike).
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Digitalization has been reshaping the media landscape in recent years, often conveying an implicit promise of becoming less dependent on physical resources. At the same time, the current understanding of digital reading goes beyond dedicated e-readers or definable digital media products such as magazines or newspapers. In fact, it must be perceived as a function or service obtained from existing and ever-expanding “digital ecosystems”. There is furthermore a clear and unambiguous trend that relatively small and mobile devices are on the rise for consuming all kinds of media. Next to potentially enabling environmental gains compared to traditional paper-based media consumption, there are agreeing indications of a shift from overall electricity consumption dominated by end-user devices towards an increasing importance of less tangible data transmission networks and data centers. Therefore, a bottom-up analysis is deemed to compliment more general top-down observations and assessments. To this end, an elaborated reference scenario is proposed as to bridge the mere analytical method of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) with behavioral aspects based on German market observations and surveys. The prevailing aim of this study is to detect environmental hot-spots and absolute impacts linked to the service of accessing text-based content via connected electronic devices. In doing so, this study takes the position that both types of media consumption – digital and paper-based - are incommensurable due to the very evident differences in provided functions, markets, and industries. Therefore, an attributional and stand-alone LCA is considered appropriate. The perceived current situation (reference scenario) evolves around substantiated estimates and assumptions concerning production of devices, use of devices as well as operation of essential data transmission network components. Looking at potential hot-spots, electricity consumption linked to data transmission could be a decisive factor for the environmental performance of digital reading. However, the actual importance of data transmission infrastructures depends on both methodological choices and a range of parameters or trends. For instance, the relative importance is shifted when more recent estimates of electricity intensities are incorporated. Depending on actual and localized electricity intensity of data transmission, the amount of data required to provide an expected function may inhibit environmental potentials of digital media consumption. Postulating average annual consumption of digital contents and assuming actual substitution of equivalent printed media products, about 50 kg CO2-equivalents could potentially be avoided. This theoretical potential is based on the calculated global warming potential (GWP) associated with digital reading according to the reference scenario which amounts to about 29 kg CO2-equivalents. Therefore, this study supports findings from previous studies that indicated environmental benefits of digital reading. Compared to other functions or services (e.g. video/music streaming, podcasts, audio books) embedded in the same “digital ecosystems”, reading requires little amount of data. If allocation of upstream effects is based on time, the relative importance of data transmission networks could be gauged and compared by adopting a “data-to-service time” ratio. Taking the reference scenario as a starting point, a perceivable ratio for digital reading is 0.015 GB/h, including systemic inefficiencies. In contrast, streaming of high-definition video contents can easily consume 3 GB/h, a 200-fold increase. The audience of this study comprises providers of digital reading services and/or other media services as well as end-users as integral element in “digital ecosystems”. Besides, the report proposes a conceptual assessment framework which can be applied to other contemporary digital services or functions.
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The term information and communication technology plays a vital role in the present scenario by being part of several facets of human activity. With time, implementation of ICT has developed both positive and negative impacts on the environment. Instantaneous negative ecological blow takes place due to the creation, use, and throwing away of ICT products. However, constructive outcome arises because of the replacement of various products and services by ICT artifacts. There exist many indirect corollaries and one of that includes money saved due to ICT-stimulated energy efficiency, and these corollaries are applied in the utilization of others products and services. This paper focuses on presenting the different facets, which include reviews and discussion of various second-order effects that are linked with the usage of ICT. The second order of ICT can be linked with the use of e-commerce for an example. This research paper shall also focus on the necessary steps taken for developing processes that comprise second-order effects for evaluating the ecological impacts of ICT.
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Digitally-enabled technologies are increasingly cyber-physical systems (CPS). They are networked in nature and made up of geographically dispersed components that manage and control data received from humans, equipment, and the environment. Researchers evaluating such technologies are thus challenged to include CPS subsystems and dynamics that might not be obvious components of a product system. Although analysts might assume CPS have negligible or purely beneficial impact on environmental outcomes, such assumptions require justification. As the physical environmental impacts of digital processes (e.g., cryptocurrency mining) gain attention, the need for explicit attention to CPS in environmental assessment becomes more salient. This review investigates how the peer-reviewed environmental assessment literature treats environmental implications of CPS, with a focus on journal articles published in English between 2010-2020. We identify nine CPS subsystems and dynamics addressed in this literature: energy system, digital equipment, non-digital equipment, automation & management, network infrastructure, direct costs, social & health effects, feedbacks, and cybersecurity. Based on these categories, we develop a “cyber-consciousness score” reflecting the extent to which the 115 studies that met our evaluation criteria address CPS, then summarize analytical methods and modeling techniques drawn from reviewed literature to facilitate routine inclusion of CPS in environmental assessment. We find that, given challenges in establishing system boundaries, limited standardization of how to evaluate CPS dynamics, and failure to recognize the role of CPS in a product system under evaluation, the extant environmental assessment literature in peer-reviewed journals largely ignores CPS subsystems and dynamics when evaluating digital or digitally-enabled technologies.
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Drawing on recent literature on the environmental impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the Internet, this paper identifies three main types of effects: direct impacts of the production and use of ICTs on the environment (resource use and pollution related to the production of infrastructure and devices, electricity consumption of hardware, electronic waste disposal); indirect impacts related to the effect of ICTs on production processes, products and distribution systems (de-materialisation, substitution of information goods for material goods, and substitution of communication at a distance for travel); and structural/behavioural impacts, mainly through the stimulation of structural change and growth in the economy by ICTs, and through impacts on life styles and value systems. This paper argues that the diffusion and use of ICTs are leading to both positive and negative environmental impacts. However, because the effects of ICTs on economic activity are pervasive, their impacts on the environment are difficult to trace and measure. The paper argues for a need to move beyond the dichotomy between pessimism and optimism demonstrated in much of the emerging literature. Instead the relationship must be recognised as complex, interdependent, deeply uncertain and scale-dependent.
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Rapid growth in internet communication in the last decade has augmented and, to some extent, replaced other means of information transfer. This paper attempts to calculate the energy used by "the internet" in transferring a discrete quantity of information and the associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this case, we aim to determine the energy used to deliver online advertising to a user. Based on our level of confidence in the information currently available, this analysis is in an early stage that needs significant improvement to become more than an order-of-magnitude estimate. While others have attempted to quantify the energy used in the United States by delivery of information services via the internet, these analyses have focused principally on end-use equipment (PCs and other devices that users interact with directly) or on servers. In this paper we attempt to calculate an average energy use per gigabyte of data transferred over the internet by quantifying the network energy and data traffic. This estimate includes energy used by network equipment up to either A) the user's terminal in business settings or B) the edge of the user's home. We take a similar approach here to the analysis in Koomey (2004), which explores network energy and data flows associated with wireless personal digital assistants. This paper calculates the best estimate of network electricity intensity possible using currently available data. It first illustrates the data and methodology used, then presents the results and discusses implications. Finally it describes conclusions and suggests topics for further research.
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Introduction This paper provides an overview on the content of the ecoinvent database and of selected metholodogical issues applied on the life cycle inventories implemented in the ecoinvent database. Goal, Scope and Background In the year 2000, several Swiss Federal Offices and research institutes of the ETH domain agreed to a joint effort to harmonise and update life cycle inventory (LCI) data for its use in life cycle assessment (LCA). With the ecoinvent data-base and its actual data v1.1, a consistent set of more than 2’500 product and service LCIs is now available. Method Nearly all process datasets are transparently documented on the level of unit process inputs and outputs. Methodological approaches have been applied consistently throughout the entire database content and thus guarantee for a coherent set of LCI data. This is particularly true for market and trade modelling (see, for example, electricity modelling), for the treatment of multi-out-put and of recycling processes, but also for the recording and reporting of elementary flows. The differentiation of diameter size for particulate matter emissions, for instance, allows for a more comprehensive impact assessment of human health effects. Data quality is quantitatively reported in terms of standard deviations of the amounts of input and output flows. In many cases qualitative indicators are reported additionally on the level of each individual input and output. The information sources used vary from extensive statistical works to individual (point) measurements or assumptions derived from process descriptions. However, all datasets passed the same quality control procedure and all information relevant and necessary to judge the suitability of a dataset in a certain context are provided in the database. Data documentation and exchange is based on the EcoSpold data format, which complies with the technical specification ISO/TS 14048. Free access to process information via the Internet helps the user to judge the appropriateness of a dataset.Concluding Remarks The existence of the ecoinvent database proves that it is possible and feasible to build up a large interlinked system of LCI unit processes. The project work proved to be demanding in terms of co-ordination efforts required and consent identification. One main characteristic of the database is its transparency in reporting to enable individual assessment of data appropriateness and to support the plurality in methodological approaches.Outlook Further work on the ecoinvent database may comprise work on the database content (new or more detailed data-sets covering existing or new economic sectors), LCI (modelling) methodology, the structure and features of the data-base system (e.g. extension of Monte Carlo simulation to the impact assessment phase) or improvements in eco-invent data supply and data query. Furthermore, the deepening and building up of international co-operations in LCI data collection and supply is in the focus of future activities.
Article
Existing product life cycle assessment (LCA) studies on offset printed matter all point at paper as the overall dominating cause of environmental impacts. All studies focus on energy consumption and the dominating role of paper is primarily based on the energy-related impact categories: global warming, acidification and nutrient enrichment. Ecotoxicity and human toxicity, which are related to emissions of chemicals, etc., are only included to a limited degree or not at all. In this paper we include the impacts from chemicals emitted during the life cycle of sheet fed offset printed matter. This is done by making use of some of the newest knowledge about emissions from the production at the printing industry combined with knowledge about the composition of the printing materials used. In cases with available data also upstream emissions from the production of printing materials are included. The results show that inclusion of the chemical emission-related impacts makes the EDIP97 impact profile of sheet fed offset products much more varied, as well for the normalised profiles as for the profiles weighted by distance to political environmental targets. Especially the ecotoxicity impact potential related to the production stage may contribute significantly, and the use of paper no longer becomes the overall dominating factor driving the environmental impacts.
Article
Energy use associated with sales and distribution via business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce versus conventional retail is analyzed for the Japanese book sector. Results indicate that e-commerce uses considerably more energy per book than conventional retail in dense urban areas, because of additional packaging. In suburban and rural areas, the energy consumption of the two systems is nearly equal because the relative efficiency of courier services compared to personal automobile transport balances out the impact of additional packaging. The main reason e-commerce does not save energy, even in rural areas, is because of the multipurpose use of automobiles; e-commerce does consume less energy in the case of single-purpose shopping trips by automobile. Overall consumption at the national level is nearly the same: 5.6 mega-joules (MJ) per book for e-commerce and 5.2 MJ per book for traditional retail. Although this difference is smaller than the uncertainty in the result, the structure of energy use for the two systems is quite distinct, which suggests reprioritization of energy-efficiency strategies. Important factors influencing the energy efficiency of B2C e-commerce include packaging, loading factors of courier trucks, number of trips per delivery, and residential energy consumption.
Article
Enroth, Environmental impact of printed and electronic teaching aids, a screening study focusing on fossil carbon dioxide emissions, Advances in Printing and Media Technology, Vol 36, 2009. Accepted for publication. Abstract: This study was initiated in order to clarify the environmental impact of different kinds of teaching aids easily available today. The aim of the study is to give a screening comparison of the environmental impact when it comes to the global warming potential of printed versus electronic teaching aids. A life cycle perspective is used in the study which means that the different specific life cycle steps of the media products are analysed. In the study, the environmental impact is limited to the impact category global warming. The study focuses on the emissions of fossil carbon dioxide which is the only climate gas included in the analysis. The study shows that the impact on global warming of a web based electronic teaching aid is approximately 10 times higher than the environmental impact of a printed textbook, if a low energy computer equipment scenario is used. If a high energy computer equipment scenario is used, the impact is nearly 30 times higher for the web based electronic teaching aid compared with the impact of the printed textbook. A reason for this is that a textbook can be used for a long time by many users.
Article
Purpose Information and communication technology (ICT) has been proposed as a means to facilitate environmental sustainability. Dematerialisation is one potential way of doing this. For books, this could be realized through using e-book readers, which share many of the qualities of printed media and have notably low-energy requirements during use. The main aim of this study was to analyse the environmental impacts of an e-book read on an e-book reader, and to identify key issues determining the magnitude of the impact. A second aim was to compare the e-book product system with a paper book product system using a life cycle perspective. Materials and methods A screening LCA was performed on an e-book produced and read in Sweden. The e-book reader was assumed to be produced in China. The data used were general data from Ecoinvent 2.0 and site-specific data from companies participating in the study, whenever average data were not available. Results and discussion The results showed that production of the e-book reader was the life cycle step contributing most to the environmental impact of the system studied, although data on the e-ink screen were lacking. The disposal phase leads to avoided impact as materials are recycled; however, these results are less certain due to limited data availability. When the e-book was compared with a paper book, the results indicated that the number of books read on the e-book reader during its lifetime was crucial when evaluating its environmental performance compared with paper books. The results indicate that there are impact categories and circumstances where paper books are preferable to e-books from an environmental perspective and vice versa. Conclusions There is no single answer as to which book is better from an environmental perspective according to the results of the current study. To improve the e-book environmental performance, an e-book reader should be used frequently, the life time of the device should be prolonged, as far as possible, and when not in use anymore, the device should be disposed of in a proper way, making material recycling possible. In addition, the production of the e-reader should be energy efficient and striving towards minimisation of toxic and rare substances.
Article
Decision-making is central to life cycle assessment (LCA), both in the sense that LCA may be used as decision support and in the sense that different methodological choices in LCA are relevant to different applications. This latter issue is pursued in this paper: i.e., how the decision-making context, and thus goal definition, may be used to guide methodological choices in LCA. A distinction is made between a retrospective or accounting perspective and a prospective perspective, where the consequences of alternative actions are investigated. This has significant implications for LCA guidelines, including the standard on LCA compiled by the International Standardization Organization (ISO).
Article
Problem: Hur har dessa förändringar påverkat transporterna hos Postens kunder? Behöver de idag åka kortare eller längre för att komma till ett serviceställe eller till kassaservice? Har de bytt transportsätt? Hur har detta sin tur påverkat miljön i fråga om avgaser och utsläpp, framför allt koldioxidutsläpp? Har det medfört en positiv eller negativ förändring i miljöpåverkan? Syfte: Syftet med detta examensarbete är att undersöka hur transporterna och dess miljöpåverkan hos Postens kunder har förändrats i och med omstruktureringen i två serviceområden, Gävle, representerat av Gävle kommun, och Halmstad, representerat av Falkenberg och Halmstad kommuner. Detta görs genom att genomföra en postenkät. Metod: Efter att ha fått problemformuleringen gjordes en postenkät. Denna skickades ut till 1000 personer i tre olika kommuner. Utifrån de svar som kom in på enkäten gjordes en analys med hjälp av ett statistikprogram och resultaten analyserades sedan för att få fram ett svar på problemformuleringen. Slutsatser: Beteendet hos Postens privatkunder har inte förändrats mycket. Trots att den genomsnittliga sträckan till serviceställena och Svensk Kassaservice har förkortats gentemot till postkontoren är det fortfarande ungefär lika många som tar bilen i ungefär samma utsträckning. Det som har förändrats är hur ofta kunderna använder sig av serviceställena och Svensk Kassaservice, vilket är mindre ofta än vad de använde postkontoren. Trots att beteendet inte förändrats mycket så har bensinförbrukningen hos kunderna minskat i Falkenberg och Halmstad kommuner medan den har ökat i Gävle kommun. Detsamma gäller utsläpp av koldioxid. Förändringen kan alltså sägas vara positiv i Falkenberg och Halmstad och negativ i Gävle.
Article
Life Cycle Assessment is a tool to assess the environmental impacts and resources used throughout a product's life cycle, i.e., from raw material acquisition, via production and use phases, to waste management. The methodological development in LCA has been strong, and LCA is broadly applied in practice. The aim of this paper is to provide a review of recent developments of LCA methods. The focus is on some areas where there has been an intense methodological development during the last years. We also highlight some of the emerging issues. In relation to the Goal and Scope definition we especially discuss the distinction between attributional and consequential LCA. For the Inventory Analysis, this distinction is relevant when discussing system boundaries, data collection, and allocation. Also highlighted are developments concerning databases and Input-Output and hybrid LCA. In the sections on Life Cycle Impact Assessment we discuss the characteristics of the modelling as well as some recent developments for specific impact categories and weighting. In relation to the Interpretation the focus is on uncertainty analysis. Finally, we discuss recent developments in relation to some of the strengths and weaknesses of LCA.
Conference Paper
This paper presents the findings of a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of two different book options-electronic and print. This study compared the life-cycle burdens and impacts of a college student reading 40 scholarly textbooks and the equivalent amount of digitized information (53.6-MB) using a dedicated e-book reading device. Total primary energy, material and water requirements, air and water pollutant emissions, and solid wastes for each system were evaluated. By comparing these two book options, this study provides industry, consumers, and policy makers with valuable information necessary to make environmentally informed decisions regarding e-book technologies.
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