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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.

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... The past studies cover comparative products ranging from newspapers and online articles or a television (Hischier and Reichart 2003), newspapers and digital newspapers (Toffel and Horvath 2004;Åberg et al. 2010), scholarly articles and a digital library system (Gard and Keoleian 2002), textbooks and electronic teaching aids (Enroth 2009), and paper books and e-books (Kozak and Keoleian 2003;Moberg et al. 2011;Nakamura 2015). These studies quantified environmental impact per volume of information, where digital media demonstrated advantage over traditional media in terms of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). ...
... One comparative study concluded that most environmental impact categories break even between paper book and ebook read on e-reader is around 30 books per year (Moberg et al. 2011); however, the inviting features of e-reader could motivate consumers to read more books than when they used to read only paper books. To assess the influence of digital media in altering the environmental impact, changes in consumer behavior upon adoption of digital media must be considered in the assessment scheme. ...
... The following sections describe major unit processes in the LCA. Because majority of our life cycle inventories (LCI) were directly adopted from Borggren et al. (2011) and Moberg et al. (2011), we limit our descriptions to critical information for describing our LCA. We also describe each unit process in Supporting Information (Tables S4 to S6, Electronic Supplementary Material), but refer to LCI source literatures for a full description. ...
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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.
... The potential to inform consumer choices is already evident in LCAs comparing the impact of livestock products (de Vries and de Boer, 2010;Garnett, 2009), grain (Chen et al., 2014), bread production (reviewed in Roy et al., 2009), and food miles (Weber and Matthews, 2008;Edwards-Jones et al., 2008). We know of no LCA conducted specifically for the sake of comparing gifts, though we did find a LCA of an electronic teddy bear (Muñoz et al., 2009) and other common gift items (Helion and Gilovich, 2014;Moberg et al., 2011;Sivaraman et al., 2007), including the growing LCA literature on apparel and textile production (Roos et al., 2016;Terinte et al., 2014). ...
... We estimated 8 min for online book Moberg et al., 2011) and DVD purchases (Sivaraman et al., 2007) on a laptop computer. In our sensitivity analysis, we vary the time for purchase from 5 to 15 min (Matthews et al., 2001(Matthews et al., , 2002. ...
... Inclusion of movie creation and writing is a novel addition to published LCAs. Most book LCAs have omitted book creation because it is common to both systems under study, like printed or electronic books (Kozak, 2003;Moberg et al., 2011) and teaching aids (Enroth, 2009), or due to a focus on differences between book retail options Matthews et al., 2002). Prior omission of book content creation may not be problematic. ...
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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.
... South Africa's energy mix is more dependent on fossil fuel than that of Sweden, where Enroth's study was conducted. The findings of this study are also aligned with those of Moberg et al. (2011) who indicated that the digital e-book system with a lifetime of two years was preferred to the print system in terms of energy, abiotic depletion potential, global warming potential, terrestrial ecotoxicity potential, human toxicity potential and terrestrial toxicity potential. The land use impacts for the print system are also noted to be much larger than those of the digital system. ...
... The results from the CED analyses are shown in Table 5, which shows that the print system requires approximately three times more energy (1 525 MJ) to offer the same service as the digital system (473 MJ). This result is similar to the findings of Moberg et al. (2011) who report a difference of approximately 3.5 times. The paper and printing processes are responsible for the greatest energy demand contribution to the life cycle of the paper system, contributing 41% and 39% respectively to the total life cycle energy demand ( Figure 4). ...
... This is followed by e-book reading, which contributes 37% ( Figure 5). These results seem to agree with the findings of Moberg et al. (2011) who also indicate that the production stage of the electronic device is the most prominent in energy consumption. According to the CED calculations, 94% of the print system energy is provided by fossil fuels and approximately 6% is from nuclear energy, whilst in the digital system 87% of the CED is obtained from fossil fuel and 13% from nuclear fuel. ...
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Complete issue of the Journal of Energy in Southern Africa (JESA) Vol. 27 Issue 2.
... 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. ...
... 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. ...
... More recently a few studies have been conducted to discuss the environmental aspects of a digital library or information service (Chowdhury, 2010(Chowdhury, , 2012a(Chowdhury, ,2012(Chowdhury, b, 2012c(Chowdhury, , 2016. Moreover, the study results indicate that there is no single answer as to which book format is better from an environmental perspective (Chowdhury, 2012c;Jeswani and Azapagic, 2015;Moberg et al., 2011). "The ideal situation is that we use both electronic and print media in a way that meets our social and environmental and economic needs", president at Two Side US Phil Riebel, said. ...
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.
... Environmental impacts of electronic media can be compared with those of print media. Previous studies on energy use and environmental impacts of print and electronic media have shown there is no one answer as to which type of product is preferable from an environmental standpoint Bull & Kozak, 2014;Enroth, 2009;Hischier & Reichart, 2003;Kronqvist et al., 2010;Moberg et al., 2011;Moberg et al., 2010). These studies include media such as daily newspapers, novels, scholarly books, and magazines, as well as electronic versions read from desktop computers and e-ink tablet devices (ereaders). ...
... They also found that user practices were important for the resulting environmental impacts. User practices are highlighted in other comparative environmental assessments of media products, e.g., Moberg et al. (2011). The development of new electronic devices is rapid and boundless. ...
... The allocation of environmental impacts for electronic storage and distribution in Paper I-II was based on the size of the data (megabytes) transferred over the network except for home networking (modem/router), the allocation of which was based on reading time of the tablet edition. This allocation approach was consistent with that used in previous studies on electronic distribution of media (Coroama & Hilty, 2014;Coroama et al., 2015b;Koomey et al., 2004;Moberg et al., 2011;Schien et al., 2013;Weber et al., 2010). ...
Thesis
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*** Available at: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-171443 The production and consumption of information and communication technology (ICT) products and services continue to grow worldwide. This trend is accompanied by a corresponding increase in electricity use by ICT, as well as direct environmental impacts of the technology. Yet a more complicated picture of ICT’s effects is emerging. Positive indirect effects on environmental sustainability can be seen in substitution and optimization (enabling effects), and negative indirect effects can be seen in additional demand due to efficiency improvements (rebound effects). A variety of methods can be employed to model and assess these direct and indirect effects of ICT on environmental sustainability. This doctoral thesis explores methods of modeling and assessing environmental effects of ICT, including electronic media. In a series of five studies, three methods were at times applied in case studies and at others analyzed theoretically. These methods include life cycle assessment (LCA) and complex systems modeling approaches, including System Dynamics (SD) and agent-based (AB) modeling. The first two studies employ the LCA approach in a case study of an ICT application, namely, the tablet edition of a Swedish design magazine. The use of tablets has skyrocketed in recent years, and this phenomenon has been little studied to date. Potential environmental impacts of the magazine’s tablet edition were assessed and compared with those of the print edition. The tablet edition’s emerging version (which is marked by a low number of readers and low reading time per copy) resulted in higher potential environmental impacts per reader than did the print edition. However, the mature tablet edition (with a higher number of readers and greater reading time per copy) yielded lower impacts per reader in half the ten impact categories assessed. While previous studies of electronic media have reported that the main life-cycle contributor to environmental impacts is the use phase (which includes operational electricity use as well as the manufacture of the electronic device), the present study did not support those findings in all scenarios studied in this thesis. Rather, this study found that the number of readers played an important role in determining which life-cycle phase had the greatest impacts. For the emerging version, with few readers, content production was the leading driver of environmental impacts. For the mature version, with a higher number of readers, electronic storage and distribution were the major contributors to environmental impacts. Only when there were many readers but low overall use of the tablet device was the use phase the main contributor to environmental impacts of the tablet edition of the magazine. The third study goes beyond direct effects at product- and service-level LCAs, revisiting an SD simulation study originally conducted in 2002 to model indirect environmental effects of ICT in 15 European countries for the period 2000-2020. In the current study, three scenarios of the 2002 study were validated in light of new empirical data from the period 2000–2012. A new scenario was developed to revisit the quantitative and qualitative results of the original study. The results showed, inter alia, that ICT has a stimulating influence on total passenger transport, for it makes it more cost- and time-efficient (rebound effects). The modeling mechanism used to represent this rebound effect is further investigated in the fourth study, which discusses the feedback loops used to model two types of rebound effects in passenger transport (direct economic rebound and time rebound). Finally, the role of systems thinking and modeling in conceptualizing and communicating the dynamics of rebound effects is examined. The aim of the fifth study was to explore the power of systems modeling and simulation to represent nonlinearities of the complex and dynamic systems examined elsewhere in this thesis. That study reviews previous studies that have compared the SD and AB approaches and models, summarizing their purpose, methodology, and results, based on certain criteria for choosing between SD and AB approaches. The transformation procedure used to develop an AB model for purposes of comparison with an SD model is also explored. In conclusion, first-order or direct environmental effects of ICT production, use, and disposal can be assessed employing an LCA method. This method can also be used to assess second-order or enabling effects by comparing ICT applications with conventional alternatives. However, the assessment of enabling effects can benefit from systems modeling methods, which are able to formally describe the drivers of change, as well as the dynamics of complex social, technical, and environmental systems associated with ICT applications. Such systems methods can also be used to model third-order or rebound effects of efficiency improvements by ICT. Available at: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-171443
... In contrast, the single-use-case studies usually apply methods allowing for a deeper analysis, including LCA or partial footprint (e.g. Moberg et al. (2011), Kozak (2003). Mostly, the aim of these assessments is not just to estimate the environmental impact of the use case under study, but also to unveil the hidden mechanisms and impact patterns behind the use case in order to derive recommendations for policies or ICT application design. ...
... 12 of the assessments identified in our literature review focused on ICT's impact on patterns of production. Moberg et al. (2011), for example, compares the environmental impact associated with production, use, and disposal of paper-based books vs. e-books. Such studies commonly use productoriented assessment methods, such as LCA or partial footprint. ...
... For indirect environmental effects of ICT, LCA typically compares the environmental impact of two product systems that differ with regard to ICT application. For example, Moberg et al. (2011) compare the environmental impact of reading paper-based books and reading books using an e-book reader. By applying LCA, they find that the production of an e-book reader causes approximately the same amount of GHG emissions as the production of 30 to 40 average books. ...
Thesis
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Impacts of digitalization on the environment Digitalization, the process of societal change driven by the increasing use of information and communication technology (ICT), is fundamentally changing existing structures and processes in all economic and social systems, with substantial consequences for the environment. Digitalization impacts the environment in two ways: — Direct effects refer to the environmental impacts caused throughout the lifecycle of ICT hardware: its production requires resources and energy, it is powered with electricity during use, and it must be disposed of after the use phase. — Indirect effects refer to the impacts of applying or using ICT, which change existing patterns of production and consumption (e.g. through intelligent heating) and their environmental consequences (e.g. lower energy consumption). There is a consensus that ICT applications (via indirect effects) have the potential to contribute to environmental protection; however, assessments of indirect environmental effects of ICT and the actions required to exploit those potentials involve substantial uncertainty. For example, results of industry studies often indicate that ICT applications have the potential to avoid more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (indirect effect) than the ICT sector causes itself (direct effect). Results of other studies, mostly in the academic field, agree that the increasing effects of ICT on GHG emissions outweigh the reducing effects to date, and that they cancel each other out at best. Such diverging results, driven by inconsistencies in methodological assessment approaches, make it difficult for decision makers to correctly interpret the results and take the environmental impact into account in ICT investment or policy decisions. A time-use perspective for assessing indirect environmental effects of ICT A systematic literature review reveals that most assessments of indirect effects focus on ICT impacts on patterns of production (e.g. GHG emissions associated with the production of paper-based books vs. e-book readers). However, ICT also changes patterns of consumption. In particular, ICT use affects how individuals use their time, with manifold consequences for the environment. For example, ICT can reduce transport through virtual mobility or increase transport by creating the desire to travel to places seen on the Internet. Analyzing the indirect environmental effects of ICT from a time-use perspective has significant potential to improve our understanding of these phenomena for several reasons. First, individual time use, the pattern of activities individuals perform during a day, is crucial for the environmental impacts associated with lifestyles (e.g. taking a walk in the woods requires no electricity, streaming a movie does). At the same time, ICT relaxes time and space constraints of activities (e.g. e- commerce allows consumers to shop for goods from almost anywhere at any time) and thus changes time allocation and the environmental impacts associated with time use. Second, time is a limited resource for everyone due to the hard 24-hour time budget constraint per day. This phenomenon makes time a central link between different activities and their environmental impacts which can be used to model interaction among activities and among ICT use cases impacting time allocation. For example, if a researcher finds that working from home saves 20 minutes of commute time per day, he or she must also answer the question how the time saved is spent. If we add further ICT use cases (e.g. e- commerce, e-banking,) to the assessment, they again change the rules of the game in which all activities compete for the same, naturally limited resource—time. Modeling interaction among ICT use cases is key to investigating systemic ICT impacts such as fundamental changes to lifestyles driven by increasing ICT use. Third, the time-use perspective allows researchers to analyze time rebound effects, which occur when increases in time efficiency lead to an increase in environmental loads (e.g. if time not spent on commuting when working from home is spent on other GHG-intensive activities). Recognizing these characteristics of the time-use perspective, I develop a conceptual framework for systematically assessing the impact of ICT on time use and environmental impacts using energy use as an exemplary environmental impact category. The core of this framework is that it categorizes ICT impacts on time use into two types: — ICT impacts on activity planning and execution: for example, parallelization of activities when working while traveling on a train, avoidance of commuting when working from home, or substitution of physical shopping with online shopping. — Systemic impacts of ICT on time use: effects which only occur through the relationships between variables in the broader system in which the ICT use case takes place. For example, the possibility to work remotely from home can influence families’ decisions regarding where to live because longer commuting distances become more acceptable (because people do not commute as often), which can lead to changes in settlement structures and as well as individual time use, e.g. for leisure or travel. Changes in time use affect direct energy requirements through the energy used while performing activities (e.g. in the form of electricity for cooking or fuels for transport). Indirect energy requirements, the energy embedded in goods and services used to perform activities, only change if production of goods and services can be avoided (e.g. if working from home leads to fewer cars being purchased or less office space being built). From a time-use perspective, the energy impacts of ICT use depend on the direct and indirect energy requirements of the activities before and after adoption of an ICT use case. Demonstrating the time-use approach with the ICT use case telecommuting I demonstrate the time-use approach by showing how time-use data can be analyzed and linked with data on the energy requirements of activities to assess the energy impacts of a change in time allocation using the example use case telecommuting. Telecommuting means substituting physical presence in the employer’s office with virtual presence and remote access to data, e.g. by working from home or from a local co-working space and thereby reducing commute time and the related energy consumption. Telecommuting is subject to time rebound effects. That is, reducing commuting allows telecommuters to spend the commute time saved on travel for other purposes and non-travel activities such as leisure, which are associated with their own energy requirements. I apply the time-use approach using time-use and travel data collected in an actual co-working living laboratory in Stockholm, Sweden. I find that people spend the commute time they saved mainly on non-travel activities (e.g. leisure or chores) and only to a small extent on ‘private travel’. This substitution can lead to a reduction in net energy requirements because travel (especially individual motorized travel) is associated with higher energy requirements than most non-travel activities. However, the size of the time rebound effect of telecommuting depends on the marginal energy requirements of the substitute activities, i.e. the energy impacts of a change in time use, which are difficult to predict. For example, spending more time on car travel directly increases fuel consumption; however, spending more time on house cleaning only increases direct energy requirements if energy- consuming appliances are used longer (e.g. vacuum cleaners, stoves). Plus, the time rebound effects of telecommuting depend on the transport modes because transport modes differ significantly in their energy requirements. For example, car commuters can realize high energy savings through telecommuting because car travel is highly energy-intensive. In contrast, for bikers or pedestrians, the direct energy requirements of travel (and telecommuting-induced energy savings) are zero, and thus the effect of any additional energy required for substitute activities is to increase net direct energy requirements. A second case study of the co-working living lab in Stockholm broadens the scope by investigating environmental impacts of telecommuting beyond impacts due to changes in time allocation. It shows that besides time rebound effects, telecommuting can cause further environmental effects. For example, working from a co-working space can lead to an increase in office space (e.g. due to the co-working space in addition to the employer’s office space) and energy required for heating, cooling, and lighting the space. Whether telecommuting brings about energy savings depends largely on telecommuting-induced changes to: (1) telecommuters’ time spent in transport and use of transport modes, (2) spacerequirementsatallworklocations(employeroffice,co-workingspace,andhomeoffice space), (3) substitutetravelandnon-travelactivities,goods,andservicesandtheirenergyimpacts(time and income rebound effects). Thus, telecommuting does not necessarily lead to energy savings, but should be accompanied by additional energy savings measures. Organizations adopting telecommuting or providing telecommuting services (in particular co-working space providers) should advise telecommuters concerning their preferences regarding work location and transport modes. All stakeholders should work together to find strategies to reduce the total office space required. If all actors adopt such measures, telecommuting can be a viable ICT application to reduce the environmental impacts of work, relieve pressure on transport systems, and increase the well-being of workers. However, if organizations and telecommuters do not address these energy-saving measures, additional energy required for space heating and cooling, a possible change in transport modes used, and time and income rebound effects can compensate or even overcompensate for commute-related energy savings. The fact that a large number of employees can work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic is an impressive example of the social benefits of flexible work models. This dissertation shows that the time-use approach is a useful—if not key—element of methods for assessing the environmental effects of ICT (using energy impacts of telecommuting as an example). I encourage researchers and ICT companies to apply the time-use approach in combination with other production- and consumption-focused approaches to shed light on indirect environmental effects of ICT from various perspectives and to identify pathways for aligning digitalization with environmental protection.
... In another study, Moberg et al. (2010b) compared a printed newspaper with an e-newspaper read on a tablet. Amasawa et al. (2018) and Moberg et al. (2011) compared reading an e-book with reading a paper book. ...
... 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. ...
... For the vast majority of studies an attributional LCA (ALCA) approach was chosen. That approach was further divided into full ALCA studies and screening ALCA studies, whereby the term "screening LCA" was taken from studies of Moberg et al. (2011Moberg et al. ( , 2010aMoberg et al. ( , 2010b. The difference between the two approaches is the type of data used. ...
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.
... Therefore, multi-use-case studies are often close to back-of-the-envelope calculations, also called "Fermi calculations", which try to derive a rough estimate from a few simple assumptions [78]. In contrast, the single-use-case studies usually apply methods allowing for a deeper analysis, including life cycle assessment or partial footprint (e.g., [39,40]). Mostly, the aim of these assessments is not just to estimate the environmental impact of the use case under study, but also to unveil the hidden mechanisms and impact patterns behind the use case in order to derive recommendations for policies or ICT application design. ...
... 12 of the assessments identified in our literature review focused on ICT's impact on patterns of production. Moberg et al. [39], for example, compares the environmental impact associated with production, use, and disposal of paper-based books vs. e-books. Such studies commonly use product-oriented assessment methods, such as LCA or partial footprint. ...
... For indirect environmental effects of ICT, LCA typically compares the environmental impact of two product systems that differ with regard to ICT application. For example, Moberg et al. [39] compare the environmental impact of reading paper-based books and reading books using an e-book reader. By applying LCA, they find that the production of an e-book reader causes approximately the same amount of GHG emissions as the production of 30 to 40 average books. ...
Article
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Indirect environmental effects of information and communication technology (ICT) are those effects of ICT that change patterns of production or consumption in domains other than ICT, or more precisely, the environmental consequences of these changes. Digitalization as the societal process of ICT-driven change has created increasing interest in the indirect environmental effects of this technology. Assessments of indirect effects face various methodological challenges, such as the definition of the system boundary, the definition of a baseline as a reference or the occurrence of rebound effects. Existing studies use various approaches or methods to assess a spectrum of ICT use cases in several application domains. In view of the large number of assessments that have been conducted, the choices made when applying assessment methods, and the variety of ICT use cases in different application domains investigated, we present a systematic literature review of existing assessments of indirect environmental effects of ICT. The review provides a state-of-the-art overview of the methods used in the research field and is intended to support researchers in designing sound assessments which yield significant results. We identified 54 studies in seven main application domains using 15 different assessment approaches. The most common application domains are virtual mobility (e.g., telecommuting), virtual goods (e.g., digital media), and smart transport (e.g., route optimization). Life-cycle assessment, partial footprint, and the "ICT enablement method" are the most common approaches. The major part of the assessments focuses on patterns of production (e.g., production of paper-based books vs. e-books), a smaller part on patterns of consumption (e.g., changes in media consumption). Based on these results, we identify as a research gap the investigation of ICT impacts on consumer behavior, which could, for example, focus on social practices, and account for the dynamic implications of change. Elaborating such an approach could provide valuable insights into ICT's impact on society and the resulting environmental consequences.
... South Africa's energy mix is more dependent on fossil fuel than that of Sweden, where Enroth's study was conducted. The findings of this study are also aligned with those of Moberg et al. (2011) who indicated that the digital e-book system with a lifetime of two years was preferred to the print system in terms of energy, abiotic depletion potential, global warming potential, terrestrial ecotoxicity potential, human toxicity potential and terrestrial toxicity potential. The land use impacts for the print system are also noted to be much larger than those of the digital system. ...
... The results from the CED analyses are shown in Table 5, which shows that the print system requires approximately three times more energy (1 525 MJ) to offer the same service as the digital system (473 MJ). This result is similar to the findings of Moberg et al. (2011) who report a difference of approximately 3.5 times. The paper and printing processes are responsible for the greatest energy demand contribution to the life cycle of the paper system, contributing 41% and 39% respectively to the total life cycle energy demand (Figure 4). ...
... This is followed by e-book reading, which contributes 37% ( Figure 5). These results seem to agree with the findings of Moberg et al. (2011) who also indicate that the production stage of the electronic device is the most prominent in energy consumption. According to the CED calculations, 94% of the print system energy is provided by fossil fuels and approximately 6% is from nuclear energy, whilst in the digital system 87% of the CED is obtained from fossil fuel and 13% from nuclear fuel. ...
Article
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This paper presents the results of a study comparing the life cycle environmental impacts and cumulative energy demands of reading printed books (print system) with those of reading e-books from an Apple Air iPad (digital system), with a specific focus on production of books and use of both options in South Africa. The two systems were compared using the ReCiPe midpoint and cumulative energy demand methods. The findings, which are consistent with international findings, demonstrate that the print system has lower impacts than the digital system in the impact categories of freshwater eutrophication, freshwater ecotoxicity, marine ecotoxicity and metal depletion, whilst the digital system has lower impacts in the categories of climate change, ozone depletion, terrestrial acidification, marine eutrophication, human toxicity, photochemical oxidant formation, particulate matter formation, terrestrial ecotoxicity, ionising radiation, agricultural land occupation, urban land occupation, natural land transformation, water depletion and fossil depletion. The major processes contributing to energy demand and environmental impacts of the print system were paper production and printing. For the digital system the major contributing processes were the production of the iPad and e-book reading. Coal-based electricity and coal-miningrelated activities featured prominently in both systems, affecting environmental impacts and energy demand of products and services in South Africa. A change in the electricity mix to be less coal-intensive reduced the impacts of both systems. Finally, the products demonstrate that relatively few additional readers result in printed books becoming preferable to e-books in almost all impact categories, suggesting the need to consider housing print books in libraries to reduce their relative environmental impacts.
... One trivial example of substitution has already occurred in our daily life, namely the decline of printed media as it is replaced by e-readers, tablets and smartphones. Moberg, Finnveden, and Borggren (2011) assess the life cycle impacts of e-book readers versus paper books. ...
... For greenhouse gas emissions this number is probably between 20 and 35 books, while for measures of human health impacts the number is probably closer to 70 books. Moberg et al. (2011) summarises that "The results indicate that there is no single answer as to which book is better from an environmental perspective. The environmental benefit of e-books compared with paper books depends on parameters that vary for each book and user. ...
... Books from an environmental perspective-Part 2: ebooks as an alternative to paper books (Moberg et al., 2011) The results of this study refer to 'one specific book bought and read by one person'. The paper book is a 360-page hardcover novel. ...
Technical Report
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https://ec.europa.eu/environment/enveco/resource_efficiency/pdf/studies/issue_paper_digital_transformation_20191220_final.pdf
... Studies of the digitalisation of publications show clearly how estimates of energy savings depend upon key assumptions. For example, Moberg et al (2011) compare the impacts associated with producing, using and disposing of 48 hardback books of 360 pages each, with those associated with consuming the same number of e-books during a lifetime of an e-reader. The latter is energy efficient, so most of the energy use is associated with the production of the e-reader. ...
... They estimate that the adoption of e-readers can reduce GHG emissions provided that more than 4.7 books are substituted by e-books annually and the e-reader is used less for than 10 h each day. This is significantly lower than the estimate by Moberg et al (2011) of 20-30 books per year, largely because the embodied emissions of the e-reader are assumed to be smaller-reflecting technical change in the intervening years. Comparable figures for reading on a tablet are 9 books per year and 1.6 h per day. ...
Article
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Background. The contribution of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to a low carbon economy is unclear. Previous reviews emphasise the need to assess the specific factors that determine the environmental impacts of ICTs, but none of them link those factors to the magnitude of the impacts on energy consumption and carbon emissions. Our study aims to fill this evidence gap. Methods/Design.We restrict our analysis to a single application domain, namely e-materialisation, defined as the partial or complete substitution of material products with electronic equivalents. We conduct the first systematic literature review of the direct and higher order impacts of the digitalisation of goods on energy consumption. Results/Synthesis.We identify 31 relevant studies that we sort into five categories, namely: ‘epublications’ (e-books, e-magazines and e-journals); ‘e-news’; ‘e-business’; ‘e-music’; and ‘e-videos and games’. All but one of the 31 studies use life-cycle analysis and employ a range of product-system configurations, functional units, system boundaries and allocation rules. Confining attention to direct and substitution effects, the studies suggest potential energy savings from e-publications, e-news and e-music, and less potential from e-business and e-videos/games. However, different assumptions for key variables (such as the lifetime and energy efficiency of user devices, the extent to which personal transport is displaced and the number of users of material and digital products) lead to very different estimates— including many where lifecycle energy consumption increases. Most of the studies assume that digital goods substitute for material goods and all of them neglect rebound effects—which suggests that they overestimate energy savings. Discussion. Given the diversity and context-specificity of the available evidence, the optimistic assumptions that are frequently used (e.g. perfect substitution) and the neglect of rebound effects, we cannot conclude that e-materialisation has delivered significant energy savings to date or is likely to do so in the future.
... For example, the product system for a book includes fibres, ink and glue which are used for pulping, printing, and binding. Different product systems can be compared using a "functional unit" as a reference such as "one specific book bought and read by one person" (Moberg et al. 2011). ...
... -E-readers have a lower climate change impacts when they are used intensively: when a single user reads at least around 30 books, the impact per book is lower than for paper books (Moberg et al. 2011). ...
Thesis
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Human activity has greatly affected the natural environment. The production and consumption of materials and products have contributed to the destruction and degradation of ecosystems worldwide. Evidence suggests that we increasingly endanger the ability of the environment to support our way of life. Efficient use of materials (e.g. waste prevention) and circulation of materials (e.g. recycling) are widely acknowledged means to reduce the impacts of production and consumption. However, for many reasons, the efficient and circular use of materials is not sufficient to meet targets for environmental sustainability. To better understand this issue, the thesis explores the climate change mitigation benefits of changes in material use in the global paper life cycle. Efficient and circular use of materials is defined as the fulfilment of the potential of waste to be used as a resource and measured through a recovery potential indicator. A quantitative model describes material flows, energy flows, and GHG emissions of the global paper life cycle from 2012 to 2050. The emissions are compared with targets based on the carbon budget for staying below 2 degrees average global warming. The model scenarios reflect varying degrees of use of waste as a resource. The results show that full use of waste as a resource is not sufficient to meet the GHG targets for the paper life cycle but strong decarbonization of energy inputs is. In fact, increased recycling yields more emissions unless the decline in energy from combustible waste from virgin pulping is compensated for with low carbon fuels. The thesis concludes that the recovery potential indicator is suitable for analysing large material systems and may be used in public policy. To address climate change, guiding principles for material use need to consider the energy and carbon intensity of material processing and should be constantly evaluated.
... companies to advertise through these new media platforms and products are also increasing. Research has investigated the impact of different media on the green environment such as printed media, electronic and broadcast media (Crosbie, 2008;Gard and Keoleian, 2003;Kronqvist et al., 2010;Moberg et al., 2010;Moberg et al., 2011;Reichard and Hischier, 2003;Toffel and Horvath, 2004). However, despite various findings of the environmental impact of media, researchers state that assessing, comparing and communicating the environmental impact of different media types, such as printed versus various electronic media, is still a challenging task because of the difficulty in defining its implications and that further studies are necessary (Achachlouei and Moberg, 2012). ...
... With the development of new media platforms and thereby the introduction of new media products, research has investigated the impact of different media on the green environment such as printed media, electronic and broadcast media (Crosbie, 2008;Gard and Keoleian, 2003;Kronqvist et al., 2010;Moberg et al., 2010;Moberg et al., 2011;Reichard and Hischier, 2003;Toffel and Horvath, 2004). It is found that a medium's different parts of its total life cycle impact the green environment on different levels and should thus be taken into account when making assessments on environmental impact (Edwardsson, 2012). ...
Thesis
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Does the choice of a medium, by which a company’s advertising message is carried, communicate something about that company’s commitment to act responsibly towards the green environment? Does the choice of a medium that consumers perceive as more harmful for the green environment impact ad and brand evaluations more negatively than a medium that they perceive as less harmful? If so, to what extent do companies have knowledge of such change in consumer media behavior and thereby take into account the green environmental aspect with media selection? Driven by such questions, and by way of an experiment, secondary data analysis, interviews and surveys this thesis explores green media selection and its impact on communication effectiveness from the consumer’s and marketing manager’s perspective. Building on theories of advertising planning and media selection the thesis contributes with four empirical studies to increase the understanding of green advertising media and how consumers’ eco-harmful media perceptions impact communication effectiveness. The findings shed light on the importance of taking the green environmental aspect into account when practitioners select advertising media. This is particularly valid for companies that are committed to act responsibly toward the green environment, by for instance having documented green environmental policies, and wish to be associated as such through their brands and marketing communication thereof. https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:601334/FULLTEXT03.pdf
... In modern, technology-driven society, new means of producing and distributing media and novel devices for accessing the content are constantly being introduced [2]. LCAs and carbon footprint analyses have been used to assess the environmental impacts related to different media solutions [3,4,5,6,7]. In many cases the assumptions made in such analyses on user behaviour and decisions regarding which environmental impacts to assess are decisive for the results. ...
... Therefore assumptions on user profile affect the results significantly (e.g. [35,7,36,3,37]). This adds to the variability in the results of assessments, which can be seen not only as a problem, but also as an opportunity for showing the complexity of an issue and the possibility to influence the overall impact as a user. ...
Article
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The rapid and continuous development of information and communication technology (ICT) in society today is providing new means for various societal activities. To facilitate that new ICT solutions reduce environmental impacts and bring social improvements the potential impacts of those new solutions should be assessed. One way of making environmental assessments is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This paper presents and discusses challenges in assessing, comparing, communicating and acting on the results of an LCA of traditional media products and of new ICT solutions for media products, based on case studies of three newspapers in their printed and online versions. The case studies revealed the complexity in assessment and comparison of online and printed newspapers due to differences in functions and characteristics, choice and availability of data (specific and generic data, data gaps and quality), methodological choices (functional unit, allocation, scope) and assumptions on reader profile. Often no single answer can be given regarding the best option from an environmental perspective, leading to challenges in communicating the results to different stakeholders. A particular challenge is how to combine easily communicated messages with robust, transparent background information.
... Schnittholz-, Spanplatten-und Papierimporte haben keine Lohnwirkung in Bayern. Zahlreiche Sensitivitätsanalysen verschiedener Studien bestätigen sogar, dass je nach angenommenen Nutzerverhalten und E-Geräteigenschaften, der ökologische Vorbeziehungsweise Nachteil ins Gegenteil gekehrt werden kann (Kamburow 2004, Moberg et al. 2011, Hohenthal et al. 2013, Achachlouei 2013, Fraunhofer UMSICHT 2012. Hinzukommt, dass sich das Nutzerverhalten insbesondere im elektronischen Bereich derzeit rasant ändert. ...
... Beim Vergleich der Druck-und E-Medien stellt sich zudem generell die Frage, ob die Wahl der funktionellen Einheit überhaupt zulässig ist, da die Vergleichbarkeit zwischen Druck-und E-Medien durch die Multifunktionalität der elektronischen Geräte nicht gewährleistet werden kann (Fraunhofer UMSICHT 2012, Hischier et al. 2003 (Moberg et al. 2011, Achachlouei 2013, Fraunhofer UMSICHT 2012. ...
Technical Report
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Ziel dieses Projektes war es, anhand der Fallstudie Bayern Auswirkungen von Verschiebungen zwischen der stofflichen und energetischen Verwertung von Holz zu untersuchen, ökologische, soziale und ökonomische Folgen zu bewerten, sowie Anpassungsstrategien für den Cluster Forst und Holz in Bayern herauszuarbeiten. Basierend auf Holz- und Erdölpreisszenarien wurden Holzaufkommens- und Holzverbrauchsszenarien bis zum Jahr 2035 erstellt. Zudem wurden Nachhaltigkeitsaspekte der Holz-Leitprodukte Schnittholz, Holzgebäude, Spanplatten, Papier, Druckmedien, Wärme aus Scheitholz, Wärme aus Pellets, sowie Strom und Wärme aus Hackschnitzel-Mix mit importierten oder Nicht-Holz-Alternativprodukten verglichen. Durch die Verschiebung der Holzströme zur energetischen Seite in den definierten Szenarien nehmen die Treibhausgasemissionen beim Ersatz von Bauschnittholzprodukten durch Nicht-Holz-Alternativen und die Feinstaub-belastung aufgrund des erhöhten Energieholzeinsatzes zu. Ferner würden in den Szenarien insbesondere im Papier- und Druckgewerbe mehr Arbeitsplätze verloren gehen, als durch den Ausbau der Energiegewinnung aus Holz entstehen würden. Steigende Preise für Wald- und Energieholz führen in der Forstwirtschaft und der Energiebranche zu einem Anstieg der Wertschöpfung. Im Bereich der stofflichen Holznutzung sinkt die Wertschöpfung durch die Verschiebung der Holzströme und höhere Rohstoffkosten. Insgesamt führen diese gegenläufigen Effekte zu einer geringeren Wertschöpfung bei einer gemäßigten Ölpreisentwicklung, bei einer Verdoppelung des Ölpreises hingegen überkompensieren die Forstwirtschaft und die Holzenergienutzung den Rückgang auf der stofflichen Seite. The purpose of this project was to investigate the effects of increased wood energy use and decreased material-based wood use for the case study area of Bavaria. Further goals were to evaluate environmental, social and economic consequences and to identify adaptation strategies for the forestry and wood cluster in Bavaria. Based on wood and oil price scenarios, wood supply and consumption scenarios were quantified up to the year 2035. In addition, sustainability aspects of the prevalent wood products sawn wood, wooden buildings, chipboard, paper, print media, heat from split logs, heat from pellets, as well as heat and power from wood chips were compared with imported or non-wood products. Greenhouse gas emissions rise in the defined scenarios when sawn wood is replaced with non-wood alternatives in the construction sector. Particulate matters emissions rise as well due to the increased use of wood for energy purposes. Furthermore, in the paper and printing industry more jobs are lost than created by the extended use of wood for energy purposes caused by the assumed developments in the scenarios. On the one hand rising prices for wood lead to increasing value added in the forestry and energy sectors. On the other hand a change in the distribution of wood and rising intermediate consumption result in lower value added in the first production stage. All in all, the value added declines in a scenario with moderately increasing oil prices. In a scenario with doubling oil prices reverse effects enhance value added.
... Whether or not this subsystem is included in an environmental assessment is greatly dependent on the baseline to which a given digital technology is compared. In the case of print versus digital media (Achachlouei and Moberg 2015, Borggren et al 2011, Moberg et al 2011, there is a definite need to consider the material makeup of magazines, books, newspapers, as well as their modes of production and transport. Other sectors may not have as clear a corollary, however many articles point to good reasons for considering non-digital equipment across technologies. ...
... Whether or not this subsystem is included in an environmental assessment is greatly dependent on the baseline to which a given digital technology is compared. In the case of print versus digital media (Achachlouei and Moberg 2015, Borggren et al 2011, Moberg et al 2011, there is a definite need to consider the material makeup of magazines, books, newspapers, as well as their modes of production and transport. Other sectors may not have as clear a corollary, however many articles point to good reasons for considering non-digital equipment across technologies. ...
Article
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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.
... Schnittholz-, Spanplatten-und Papierimporte haben keine Lohnwirkung in Bayern. Zahlreiche Sensitivitätsanalysen verschiedener Studien bestätigen sogar, dass je nach angenommenen Nutzerverhalten und E-Geräteigenschaften, der ökologische Vorbeziehungsweise Nachteil ins Gegenteil gekehrt werden kann (Kamburow 2004, Moberg et al. 2011, Hohenthal et al. 2013, Achachlouei 2013, Fraunhofer UMSICHT 2012. Hinzukommt, dass sich das Nutzerverhalten insbesondere im elektronischen Bereich derzeit rasant ändert. ...
... Beim Vergleich der Druck-und E-Medien stellt sich zudem generell die Frage, ob die Wahl der funktionellen Einheit überhaupt zulässig ist, da die Vergleichbarkeit zwischen Druck-und E-Medien durch die Multifunktionalität der elektronischen Geräte nicht gewährleistet werden kann (Fraunhofer UMSICHT 2012, Hischier et al. 2003 (Moberg et al. 2011, Achachlouei 2013, Fraunhofer UMSICHT 2012. ...
... 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.
... For instance, Caudill et al. [16] discussed that the transition from regular commerce to e-commerce can have negative environmental impacts if the practice does not reach its full potential. The possible environmental benefits of ICT-based services, in comparison with their conventional counterparts, are heavily dependent on the extent to which they are adopted, the users' parameters and the life span of devices [17][18][19]. There is often a trade-off between benefits offered by advanced technologies in reducing materials and efficient usage of resources and other adversary effects such as increasing energy consumptions. ...
Article
Smart manufacturing in an Industry 4.0 setting requires developing unique infrastructures for sensing, wired and wireless communications, cyber-space computations and information tracking. While an exponential growth in smart infrastructures may impose drastic burdens on the environment, the conventional Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) techniques are incapable of quantifying such impacts. Therefore, there is a gap between advances in the manufacturing domain and the environmental assessment field. The capabilities offered by smart manufacturing can be applied to LCA with the aim of providing advanced impact assessment, and decision-making mechanisms that match the needs of its manufacturing counterpart.
... Nevertheless, these studies ignore at least part of the digital equipment production in their inventory, whereas this production phase is usually dominant in these LCAs since they include the important energy consumption and environmental burdens induced by rare earth or metal extraction. [234][235][236] For instance, the environmental footprint (eCO 2 ) of smartphones is 80-90% associated with the extraction, production and transport phases. 235 It has been estimated in a separate study that the carbon footprint of a book was ∼1.3-7 kg eCO 2 whereas that of the most common tablets or e-readers was in the 130-170 kg eCO 2 range, meaning that between 19 and 130 books could have the same environmental footprint as the necessary hardware used for reading them electronically. ...
Article
Full-text available
Cellulose in particular and phytomass in general are at the heart of our food system. They are also a central energy vector and a vital source of materials. In this article, a multiscale approach to the complex issue of lignocellulose sustainability is developed. Global thermodynamic concepts help to place current biomass exploitation in a global energetic context. In particular, the notion of entropy appears pivotal to understand energy and material fluxes at the scale of the planet and the limits of biomass production. Entropy is, however, best described at the microscopic scale, despite its large-scale consequences. Recent advances in entropy-driven colloid assembly parallel nature's choices and lignocellulose assembly at the nanometric scale. The functional concept of exergy is then developed and a few examples of its concrete use in photosynthesis and biorefinery research are given. In a subsequent part, an evaluation of the relative importance of biomass is performed with respect to non-renewable materials. This discussion helps to explain the interdependence of resources, including ores and fossil fuels. This interdependence has important consequences for current and future biomass uses. Some of these dependences are then quantitatively discussed using life cycle analysis (LCA) results from the literature. These results are of importance to different technological fields such as paper, biobased insulation, construction wood, information and communication technologies, and biobased textiles. A conclusion is then drawn that exposes the research tracks that are the most likely to be sustainable, including self-assembly, exergetically favourable options and low tech solutions.
... 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
Full-text available
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.
... The environmental impact of producing media content and of consuming media in different media channels, such as printed and digital newspapers, TV and radio, have been investigated by a number of researchers [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16], [17]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
During the past 50 years, the media channels, the media consumption patterns and the entire influence of media in society have changed dramatically. Looking into the future, the pace of change is not likely to decrease. In order to prepare for the future, it is important to increase our understanding of the present, in particular with regards to the environmental aspects of media consumption. In this study, I present four future scenarios related to media consumption trends and discuss these scenarios in relation to environmental aspects in the ICT society. I have tried to answer the following questions: What could be the characteristics of media consumption in different future scenarios? What parameters are central in future scenarios around media consumption, seen from an environmental perspective? How will changes in these parameters affect the environmental aspects of media consumption? I have limited the question to a Nordic context. A combination of different media theories, future studies methodology and interview techniques have been used. Interviews and workshops were conducted with media and environmental experts and with consumers. The result of the interviews with consumers shows that very few consumers connect media consumption with environmental concerns. The majority of the interviewed persons considered printed media as more environmentally damaging compared to electronic media, which was considered " clean ". The environmental experts participating in this study considered the most central parameters in future scenarios of media consumption, seen from an environmental perspective, to be connected to electronic devices, travel, transportation, energy use and waste. The environmental aspects of these parameters depend not only on the amount of devices, travel, transportation, energy and waste, but also on the way the devices are produced and used, how the travel and transportation are done, what kind of energy is used, and how the waste is treated. The amount of environmental information available in society is yet another important parameter in order to create a more environmentally sustainable future, and this is where the media could play an important role.
... Existing studies assessing indirect environmental effects of ICT on GHG emissions either focus on individual ICT use cases or estimate the overarching indirect effect of ICT on GHG emissions. Assessments of individual ICT use cases include, e.g., the comparison of GHG emissions associated with printed books and e-books [13], virtual mobility and physical mobility in a multi-site conference setting [14], as well as traditional music delivery methods using physical CDs and digital music downloads [15]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The digital transformation has direct and indirect effects on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Direct effects are caused by the production, use and disposal of information and communication technology (ICT) hardware. Indirect effects include the changes to patterns of production and consumption in other domains. Studies quantifying both effects often conclude that net effects (indirect minus direct effects) can lead to a significant GHG emission reduction. We revisited a study by Accenture on ICT’s GHG abatement potential in Switzerland by reassessing the main assumptions. Our results confirm that ICT has the potential to reduce GHG emissions in Switzerland, especially in the building, transport and energy domains. However, our results also suggest that the potential is smaller than anticipated and that exploiting this potential requires targeted action. Reasons for differences among these results (and the results of similar other studies) are: degrees of freedom in the assessment methodology, selection of ICT use cases, allocation of impacts to ICT, definition of the baseline, estimation of the environmental impact, prediction of the future adoption of use cases, estimation of rebound effects, interaction among use cases, and extrapolation from use case to society-wide impacts. We suggest addressing these methodological challenges to improve comparability of results.
... ICT can reduce pollution, carbon dioxide emissions, and energy consumption through dematerialization (Oláh et al., 2018). Some previous studies have proven that the digitalization of goods-such as e-books (Amasawa et al., 2017;Moberg et al., 2011), e-music (Weber et al., 2010), and e-games (Mayers et al., 2015) -can aid in energy saving. To reduce households' resource inputs and emissions, computer-generated goods must be substituted for physical ones; this can be achieved by replacing letters with email and print books with e-books (Shabani and Shahnazi, 2019), and introducing technologies like smart transportation-including intelligent transportation systems, traffic control cameras, GPS, and travel services. ...
Article
Information and communication technology (ICT) is expected to stimulate economic growth and mitigate adverse environmental effects. However, studies of ICT's effects on the economy and environment have shown inconsistent results. This study investigates and interprets this research gap. It begins with a systematic assessment of 108 investigations into the economic and environmental effects of ICT, published between 1978 and 2022, and groups these into three categories. Thereafter, a meta-analysis is used to investigate the factors underlying the outcome disparities. The meta-analysis finds that the research scope, measurement approach, data availability, and analytical tool selection have been the most significant contributors to the variability of ICT's measured impacts. This study then provides a preliminary analytical framework for the ICT-economic-environmental nexus, which is used to discuss three mechanisms and to explain the disparities in previous studies. It concludes that ignoring the relevant system and its interaction effects will lead to a skewed evaluation of ICT's implications. This analysis explains the inconsistency and incommensurability in most existing literature. Additionally, it provides indices of economic and environmental systems and demonstrates the direct, indirect, and rebound effects of ICTs on the environment and economy. Finally, it addresses the implications of this paradigm for policymakers and academicians and recommends related avenues for future research.
... Whilst this type of consumer behavior was not considered here, such behavior is certainly similar in nature to that of modern online purchasing, with the only tangible difference being the negligible impacts of ICT use on the part of online purchasing. A catalogue is not per se a medium that results in lower impacts compared to a modern ICT infrastructure-as shown in the past years by different studies and authors [24][25][26][27][28]. This study did not take into account the fact that online shopping could potentially lead to increased consumption patterns of individuals overall, i.e., individuals may purchase many more items of clothing over a year than they would when they have to purchase goods exclusively in-store at the nearest city. ...
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.
... B. mobiles Arbeiten, intelligente Heizungssteuerung) oder schätzen die Sektor-übergreifenden indirekten Umwelteffekte von IKT ab und gehen dabei teilweise auch auf systemische Umwelteffekte der IKT Nutzung ein Bieser und Hilty 2018b). Moberg et al. (2011) (Bieser und Hilty 2020). Coroamȃ et al. (2012) schlagen ein innovatives Modell der Konferenzorganisation vor, bei dem die Konferenz gleichzeitig an zwei Tagungsorten auf zwei unterschiedlichen Kontinenten stattfindet, welche über mehrere hochqualitative Live-Video-und Audio-Streams verbunden sind. ...
Article
Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie (IKT) verursacht direkt, jedoch auch indirekt Umwelteffekte. Die direkten Effekte entstehen durch den Energie- und Ressourcenverbrauch entlang des Lebenszyklus von IKT-Hardware (Produktion, Betrieb und Entsorgung) und werden meist mit Lebenszyklusanalysen bestimmt. Indirekte Effekte sind Umweltauswirkungen, welche sich aus der Anwendung von IKT ergeben, beispielsweise durch veränderte Produktions- oder Konsummuster. Da IKT immer mehr Bereiche des Alltags durchdringt und durch verschiedenste Mechanismen sowohl positive wie auch negative Umweltauswirkungen herbeiführt, ist die Bestimmung indirekter Umweltauswirkungen konzeptuell herausfordernd. In diesem Artikel besprechen wir indirekte Umweltauswirkungen von IKT auf drei Ebenen: Auswirkungen einzelner Anwendungsfälle, Sektor-übergreifende Effekte und systemische Effekte. Wir zeigen, wie einzelne Telekommunikationsfirmen und Industrieverbände positive indirekte Auswirkungen von IKT postulieren und unterziehen diese Studien einer kritischen Betrachtung. Wir extrahieren daraufhin die inhärenten methodischen Schwierigkeiten derartiger Studien und zeigen anhand zweier Beispiele, wie IKT gleichzeitig sowohl positive als auch negative Umweltauswirkungen hervorrufen kann. Den Herausforderungen in deren Beurteilung bewusst, jedoch auch die prinzipiellen Wirkungsmechanismen indirekter Umweltauswirkungen von IKT verstehend, plädieren wir letztlich dafür, durch wirtschaftspolitische Maßnahmen Potenziale für den Umweltschutz durch IKT zu erschließen, auch wenn die genauen Effekte noch nicht in Zahlen erfasst werden können. = Information and communication technology (ICT) causes direct and indirect environmental effects. The direct effects arise from the energy and resource consumption along the life cycle of ICT hardware (production, operation, and disposal) and are usually determined with life cycle assessments. Indirect effects are environmental impacts that result from the use of ICT, for example through changes in production or consumption patterns. As ICT penetrates more and more areas of everyday life and causes diverse positive and negative types of environmental impacts, the assessment of indirect environmental impacts is conceptually challenging. In this article, we discuss indirect environmental impacts of ICT on three levels: impact of individual ICT use cases, cross-sectoral effects, and systemic effects of ICT use. We show and critically discuss how telecommunication companies and industry associations postulate positive indirect effects of ICT. Based on these insights, we extract the inherent methodological difficulties of such studies and use two examples to show how ICT can have both positive and negative environmental impacts at the same time. Aware of the challenges in their assessment, but also understanding the mechanisms leading to their indirect environmental effects, we advocate to exploit the potential for environmental protection through ICT through policy measures, even if the exact magnitude of the effects cannot be yet assessed.
... In its "SMARTer 2030" study, GeSI, for example, estimates the global GHG abatement potential of ICT by estimating the GHG abatement potential for 12 individual use cases [6]. In their assessments, researchers apply a variety of assessment methods such as system dynamics [12], agent-based modeling [13], the ICT enablement method [4,6,8,14] or life-cycle assessment [15]. ...
Chapter
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The digital transformation has direct and indirect effects on the environment. Direct effects are caused by the production, use and disposal of information and communication technology (ICT) hardware. Indirect effects include the changes to patterns of production and consumption enabled by ICT in other domains. Studies of indirect environmental effects of ICT often focus on individual applications domains and their use cases, which implies that these studies cannot capture systemic effects of ICT adoption. We argue that interaction among ICT use cases is crucial to explain systemic environmental effects of ICT. In order to capture these interactions, we suggest focusing on ICT impacts on individual lifestyles, in particular time use, because (i) time is a limited resource for everyone, a fact which makes time budget constraints a central link among different activities and (ii) many ICT use cases relax time and space constraints of individuals, thus changing time allocation. With this approach, we take into account that individual lifestyles are a major determinant of the overall environmental impact and that ICT diffusion changes individual time-use patterns and therefore lifestyles. Based on these considerations, we propose a conceptual framework that describes the causal mechanisms between ICT use, time-use patterns and environmental impacts.
... In cases where boundaries are well defined, the following step is life cycle inventory analysis (LCI) and then life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). Finnveden et al. [6][7][8] review the differences in life cycle assessment methods. The variety of developed databases and software programs provide us the opportunity to devise environmental impact reduction solutions at different life cycle stages, as demonstrated by Bach et al. [9]. ...
Article
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This paper assesses the environmental loads of polypropylene and PP-PE-PET mixed-plastic products throughout the products’ life cycle in the production stage, with particular focus on the looping method. A life cycle model of homogeneous and mixed-plastic products has been developed from the raw material extraction and production phase through its transport with the help of the life cycle assessment method. To find the answers to the questions posed, different impacts were analyzed by the GaBi 9.5 software. The analysis lasted from the beginning of the production process to the end. The aim of this research was to determine the energy and material resources used, the emissions produced, and the environmental impact indicators involved. This article examines three scenarios in the production stage, based on the usage of plastic scrap and process water: (1) plastic scrap and wastewater are recirculated with looping method; (2) plastic scrap goes through an incineration process and wastewater is treated in a municipal wastewater treatment plant; (3) plastic scrap is sent to a municipal landfill and wastewater is treated. This article tries to answer three questions: (1) how can we optimize the production stage? (2) Which materials and streams are recyclable in the design of the life cycle assessment? (3) What is the relationship between the environmental impacts of homogeneous and mixed-plastic products? The results of this research can be used to develop injection-molding processes with lower environmental impacts and lower releases of emissions.
... Consequently, any environmental impacts accumulated due to production and distribution to retail stores would need to be allocated to eventually fulfilled items. An investigation of Borggren, Moberg and Finnveden (2011) found that 14% of the books in traditional bookstores were not sold, whereas only 0.5% could not be sold via online bookstores. This circumstance would result in a 13.5% higher upstream impact for books distributed via traditional supply chains, ultimately leading to a higher share of product waste per fulfilled unit. ...
... Consequently, any environmental impacts accumulated due to production and distribution to retail stores would need to be allocated to eventually fulfilled items. An investigation of Borggren, Moberg and Finnveden (2011) found that 14% of the books in traditional bookstores were not sold, whereas only 0.5% could not be sold via online bookstores. This circumstance would result in a 13.5% higher upstream impact for books distributed via traditional supply chains, ultimately leading to a higher share of product waste per fulfilled unit. ...
Technical Report
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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.
... För att här uppskatta klimateffekterna av minskat leksaksbestånd antar vi att 60 % av övriga leksaker är av enklare konstruktion, och att 28 % är leksaker med mer avancerad konstruktion. Klimatdata för produktion och transport av en bok är tagen från Moberg et al. (2011). Som exempel för leksaker med enklare konstruktion använder vi en nallebjörn utan inbyggd elektronik. ...
Technical Report
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The Sharing Economy is perceived by many as having positive effects on the environment in terms of resource and emission reductions through decreased consumption. One such sharing initiative is the Toy Library in Gothenburg, which lends toys to children aged 0 – 7. The goal of this study is to identify and evaluate the potential the Toy Library has to reduce environmental impacts. The method used is to both assess direct and indirect environmental effects. Direct effects are estimated as a potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the toy stock per child in the Toy Library's target group. The potential reduction is discussed in relation to the conditions offered by the Toy Library, and the members' actual actions. The evaluation of indirect effects relates to the Toy Library's potential to influence norms that subsequently influence behavior patterns, now and in the future. An important data source is a survey carried out by the Toy Library during late summer 2019 with its members. The results indicate that the Toy Library has intriguing potential for reducing direct emissions and that if all children in the Toy Library's target group in Gothenburg reduce their toy stock (536 toys on average per child) by 50 %, it would mean an avoided production and transport of ca 82 000 ton CO2 equivalents. This corresponds to the emissions from the total yearly consumption of 9 096 Swedes. Furthermore, as the Toy Library's target group is children, the organization has a high potential to influence norms and behavior, and thereby indirectly reducing environmental impact. In summary, the study shows that the Toy Library can play an important societal role and through its sharing activities contribute to several environmental and social benefits.
... B. mobiles Arbeiten, intelligente Heizungssteuerung) oder schätzen die Sektor-übergreifenden indirekten Umwelteffekte von IKT ab und gehen dabei teilweise auch auf systemische Umwelteffekte der IKT Nutzung ein Bieser und Hilty 2018b). Moberg et al. (2011) (Bieser und Hilty 2020). Coroamȃ et al. (2012) schlagen ein innovatives Modell der Konferenzorganisation vor, bei dem die Konferenz gleichzeitig an zwei Tagungsorten auf zwei unterschiedlichen Kontinenten stattfindet, welche über mehrere hochqualitative Live-Video-und Audio-Streams verbunden sind. ...
Article
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Zusammenfassung Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie (IKT) verursacht direkt, jedoch auch indirekt Umwelteffekte. Die direkten Effekte entstehen durch den Energie- und Ressourcenverbrauch entlang des Lebenszyklus von IKT-Hardware (Produktion, Betrieb und Entsorgung) und werden meist mit Lebenszyklusanalysen bestimmt. Indirekte Effekte sind Umweltauswirkungen, welche sich aus der Anwendung von IKT ergeben, beispielsweise durch veränderte Produktions- oder Konsummuster. Da IKT immer mehr Bereiche des Alltags durchdringt und durch verschiedenste Mechanismen sowohl positive wie auch negative Umweltauswirkungen herbeiführt, ist die Bestimmung indirekter Umweltauswirkungen konzeptuell herausfordernd. In diesem Artikel besprechen wir indirekte Umweltauswirkungen von IKT auf drei Ebenen: Auswirkungen einzelner Anwendungsfälle, Sektor-übergreifende Effekte und systemische Effekte. Wir zeigen, wie einzelne Telekommunikationsfirmen und Industrieverbände positive indirekte Auswirkungen von IKT postulieren und unterziehen diese Studien einer kritischen Betrachtung. Wir extrahieren daraufhin die inhärenten methodischen Schwierigkeiten derartiger Studien und zeigen anhand zweier Beispiele, wie IKT gleichzeitig sowohl positive als auch negative Umweltauswirkungen hervorrufen kann. Den Herausforderungen in deren Beurteilung bewusst, jedoch auch die prinzipiellen Wirkungsmechanismen indirekter Umweltauswirkungen von IKT verstehend, plädieren wir letztlich dafür, durch wirtschaftspolitische Maßnahmen Potenziale für den Umweltschutz durch IKT zu erschließen, auch wenn die genauen Effekte noch nicht in Zahlen erfasst werden können.
... To begin with, information technologies transform products into digitized and dematerialized forms and increasingly replace traditional physical products that used to consume massive resources and energy through the processes of production and transportation. Data-based products, such as e-books and digital music, are cheaper and easier to access, share, and distribute than their tangible counterparts (Gonel and Akinci, 2017;Moberg et al., 2011). For instance, downloading music over the Internet, compared to the best-case physical CD delivery, reduces the energy and carbon dioxide emissions associated with delivering music to customers by between 40% and 80% (Weber et al., 2010). ...
Article
The Internet has disruptively transformed the way human beings interact with the environment. This article investigates the extent to which Internet penetration at the national level influences individual sustainable consumption in a cross-national context. Multilevel regression analyses based on data from 31 countries show that after controlling for individual- and national-level factors, Internet penetration does not significantly influence individual sustainable consumption behaviors, but substantially enhances the transition from pro-environmental attitudes to sustainable behaviors. The findings underscore the complex relationships between Internet penetration and individual environmental behaviors as well as the need to understand sustainable consumption in the broader social context.
... There are two primary pathways by which electronics may contribute to material efficiency, defined here as the delivery of goods and services with reduced material and resource demand. Perhaps most widely studied is digitization, wherein electronic products are used to facilitate digital services as a substitute for resource-intensive physical goods, including music delivery (Weber, Koomey, & Matthews, 2010), magazines (Achachlouei & Moberg, 2015), books (Moberg, Borggren, & Finnveden, 2011), and bill delivery (Kim & Rohmer, 2012). In most cases, digitization offers material, energy, and climate impact reductions over traditional products, but these benefits depend heavily on the way that consumers purchase, use, and discard electronic products (Coroama, Moberg, & Hilty, 2015). ...
Article
Advances in electronic technologies have the potential to enable energy efficiency and climate mitigation but may also create climate impacts due to resource and energy use across the product life cycle. These tradeoffs revolve around the way electronics are designed, manufactured, purchased, used, and disposed and the ability to shift these systems toward resource efficiency. A promising strategy for consumer electronics is to facilitate adoption of lightweight, energy‐efficient, multi‐functional devices as replacements for the many single‐function electronic products currently owned. However, consumer preferences and willingness to make this shift remain unclear. Here, a survey of 1,011 adults across the United States demonstrated theoretical potential for material efficiency gains, as respondents indicated willingness to accept a smaller number of multi‐functional devices, such as smartphones, as replacements for specialized electronics, including digital cameras, camcorders, and MP3 players. However, when actually choosing electronics to be used for common functions, such as watching TV, getting directions, surfing the Internet, or writing an email, consumers indicated strong preferences for products with the highest perceived quality for those tasks. Multi‐functional devices such as tablets were only reported to be used for a small number of the functions they can provide and were typically redundant complements to existing products, rather than substitutes. Findings suggest a limit to material intensity reductions via device convergence alone. Dematerialization of this sector will likely require coupled efforts to design multi‐functional products for improved performance while also improving the material and climate footprint of products that consumers are unwilling to replace. This article met the requirements for a gold‐gold JIE data openness badge described at http://jie.click/badges.
Article
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.
Article
Digital technology and entertainment is a significant driver of electricity use globally, resulting in increased GHG emissions. Research has been conducted on electricity use associated with adigital services, but to date no complete study of television distribution has been conducted. Here we present the first assessment of electricity used for distribution and viewing of television over different distribution platforms terrestrial, satellite, cable and online streaming. We use a novel methodology that combines life cycle assessment techniques with models of the diversity of actual user behaviour, derived from detailed audience monitoring and online behaviour analytics data. This can be applied to assess overall electricity usage for a given media company's services and allows comparison of the electricity demanded per viewerhour of each distribution platform. We apply this to a representative national TV provider - the British Broadcasting Corporation – and show the mean estimate for BBC distribution/viewing electricity use in 2016 is 2171 GWh, resulting in emissions of 1.12 MtCO2e. We show that viewing over streaming, cable and satellite platforms used a mean of 0.17–0.18 KWh per device-hour (88–93 gCO2e) while terrestrial broadcast used a mean of 0.07 kWh (36 gCO2e). We identify home networking equipment and set-top boxes as key hotspots in the system, and show that though streaming is similar in impact to cable and satellite, this is because people use smaller devices to view – meaning the networking equipment in and beyond the home has a higher impact while the end device has a lower one.
Article
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.
Article
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.
Chapter
It is assumed that digital technologies contribute to sustainable consumption and production through dematerialization . Hence, digital text is seen as a way to reduce the environmental implications of printing. This chapter focuses on printed text which is published (mainly in the form of books) rather than on home or office printing. It is argued that a transition of books towards digitization involves changes not only in the technologies of book production, but also in the practices of writing and reading, and will more generally affect the ways readers interact with texts in a variety of situations. The chapter analyses the sociotechnical system of the printed paper text (focusing on printed books) and the historical co-evolution of print technologies and reading practices. The implications of digitization for textual production and consumption are then considered. The societal function of the printed paper text can be broadly defined as the development, preservation and diffusion of (usually) textual information. Yet, the concept of function is too limited in describing the multiple ways readers engage with texts: the interaction between books and readers differs according to readers’ intentions and the context of the action.
Thesis
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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.
Article
Life cycle assessment (LCA) has grown rapidly and is now well established within the electronics industry. The growing number of journal publications, conferences and special issues are a proof for the same. A number of literature review have been published till now in this area focusing on different aspects. This study has identified 134 significant journal articles to conduct a systematic and narrative literature review. This review covers a wide range of product categories and analyses the usefulness of LCA as a decision making tool within the electronics industry which has not been explored fully in previous reviews conducted in this area of research. For this purpose, we organized LCA studies into 10 main product categories. A Narrative review was employed to summarize the significant findings from the LCA studies. Although the central objective of all the studies was to evaluate the environmental impact created by the product, the focus and methods employed differed. A Systematic review was used to categorize the overall frameworks used in the studies. The studies were classified based on their research purpose, types of approach, LCIA methods used, system boundaries involved, data collection methods and data analysis levels. Within the sub category of research purpose, 3 research domains were identified and the studies were classified accordingly. Generally it has been revealed that Use phase, End of Life and Production phase are the dominant phases in that order. However discrepancies occur owing to functional units, data usage and assumptions made. All these and more make benchmarking difficult. Finally we identified gaps that merit attention in future research. It is also hoped that this review is a good resource for anyone interested in doing research on LCA of electronic products, helping them identify current research trends, provide suggestions for future research and stimulate interest in creating new research directions.
Article
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Researchers have looked extensively into the adoption and satisfaction level of academic electronic textbooks (e-textbooks) by students. The majority of research to date has indicated that either students prefer print textbooks to e-textbooks or the results are inconclusive. In this study a survey consisting of questions related to the use of an e-textbook was administered to a group of business majors and non-business undergraduate college students at a regionally accredited Mid-South university with a total of 313 valid responses. All students had used e-textbooks in one or more of their courses. The results of this study indicate that students who are not business majors (non-business students) are more satisfied with an e-textbook than business majors. Non-business students who use one of the e-textbook's electronic features are also more satisfied with the ease of use of the e-textbook. In addition, non-business students are more likely to use an e-textbook again in the future compared to a business major. Although there is no significant difference between the two groups for the price they are willing to pay for an e-textbook, non-business students on average are willing to pay a higher price for a printed textbook.
Chapter
Digitalisation has entered almost every realm of our daily lives. The current debate on digitalisation has been dominated by the opportunities that technical innovations offer, while discussions about the sustainability impacts of digitalisation on the employment market and data security have also been picking up pace. However, sustainability issues with regard to the environmental impacts and resource consumption triggered by the ongoing digitalisation process have not received any substantial attention. This article highlights the direct impacts of digitalisation, especially on resource consumption and environmental categories. From the top-down perspective, increasing digitalisation is expected to lead to an increase in the overall electricity consumption of information and communication technologies (ICT), despite tremendous energy-efficiency gains at the level of individual end-products. Specifically, the electricity consumption of data centres and telecommunication networks—representing the main building blocks of a digitalisation strategy—is expected to increase enormously in Europe over the next few years. The electricity consumption of data centres in Europe is forecast to increase by almost 35% to 70 TWh in 2020, while that of telecommunication networks is set to rise 150% to 50 TWh in 2020 (reference case 2011). In the EU-27 countries, the share of ICT-related electricity consumption, in the use phase, is expected to increase from 7.7% in 2011 to 8.1% in 2020. From the bottom-up perspective, case studies on online vs. offline storage and e-books vs. print books show that the environmental impacts are dependent upon specific use phase conditions. No unequivocal advantages or disadvantages can be derived in terms of relevance to climate protection. In an extensive use scenario, online storage tends to be superior to an offline solution from an environmental point of view. Conversely, offline use is associated with lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than online storage in the case of heavy use. A similar trend was observed for the case study on e-books. If an e-book reader is used for very few books, then paper books are preferable from an environmental perspective. As an improvement option, the conclusion is that an e-book reader should be used by frequent readers. If possible, it should also be used for different purposes such as reading books, newspapers, journals and other documents, thus lowering the impact per functional unit. Furthermore, the life of the e-book reader should be prolonged as far as possible. The fundamental award principles for eco-labels—such as the Blue Angel—already exist for data centres as well as for the ICT devices that are relevant here. The criteria set out in these fundamental award principles already address the crucial influencing parameters that are relevant for digital services (data centres) as well as alternatives (ICT products, such as PCs, smartphones and e-book readers). This article recommends the development of an appropriate political framework for the digitalisation strategy to ensure that requirements for sustainable development (goals) are taken into consideration. The multi-level perspective (MLP), as briefly discussed in this article, could be used to develop this framework.
Article
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Purpose Most LCAs estimate environmental impacts for a specific situation (industry, sector or location) in a generic way, without considering the specific characteristics of the product or service being evaluated. This paper outlines the relevance of the use of parameters and scenarios in environmental assessment for a daily newspaper considering multiple factors. The results of the different environmental impacts were compared with a baseline reference scenario. Methods Different product specifications, sources of raw materials, manufacturing technologies, energy mix, locations of the printing plant, and distribution possibilities of the newspaper have been taken into account. The unit processes and the amounts allocated for each resource may vary depending on the scenarios. Inventory data were obtained directly from measured data for consumption in the printing plant located in Gran Canaria (Spain) and internal inventories and indirectly from information of existing processes and products. As functional units, both 1 kg of printed newspaper and 1 unit of printed newspaper have been used. The environmental impact assessment methodology ReCiPe has been applied in this study. Also endpoint indicators are shown as score (Pt) for different areas of protection. Results and discussion For variations in the number of printed copies, the results show that environmental impacts are very high for small runs. For large runs, the impacts decrease between −14 and −16% with respect to the baseline scenario. The environmental impact of paper in the final product depends on several variables including the use of recycled fiber, the papermaking technology and the energy used in the paper plant. For airlifted daily newspapers, this means an increase of over 98% in the Climate Change impact if it is not printed in the same place of distribution. The electricity mix also depends on the geographical location and significantly affects the impacts, especially in the case of an isolated territory with increments of over 12% compared to interconnected systems. Conclusions An impact assessment should take into account the suppliers and the characteristics of the raw materials the equipment, the technology, the energy mix, and all the variables that may affect the product. From the analysis of the scenarios, it is obtained that the low runs as well as the high pages and weights produce the greatest impacts. The use of recyclable paper, the shorter distance to the printing plant from the raw materials factories as well as the use of renewable energy sources considerably reduce the impacts generated.
Article
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.
Article
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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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.
Conference Paper
This study investigates the structure of the editorial processes at a Swedish monthly magazine for interior decorating and design, Sköna hem, and assesses the carbon footprint (greenhouse gas emissions) of the editorial content production during one year. The objective is to define the processes using a computer based process modeling tool and to analyze the workflow in order to discover how the different steps in the production process relate to different environmentally related parameters. An additional objective is to present the carbon footprint of the overall editorial work and to identify the major reasons for greenhouse gas emissions, as well as any major data gaps and uncertainties. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken in order to identify the process steps involved in the content production. Environmentally related parameters, such as travel distance, mode of transports, and computer hours, were then collected for each process step. Life cycle assessment methodology was used to assess the potential greenhouse gas emissions of the editorial work at Sköna hem. A number of process steps were identified in the content production. Three overall phases were identified, into which the process steps can be grouped. Firstly, the planning phase consists of meetings with different key persons in order to plan the content of the next issues of the magazine. Secondly, the executive phase was identified. Here, all the articles and pictures are produced. Thirdly, the assembly phase includes text editing and page design. Finally, ready-made pages are sent to printing or to the digital publishing channels such as tablets and the web. According to the assessment made, the editorial content production at Sköna hem has a carbon footprint of 23 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year. The major reasons are the manufacturing of computers and screens used at the office, business trips by plane, and transports by delivery firms mainly used for transporting furniture and other objects to and from photo sessions. The use of computers and screens is mostly associated with the assembly phase, business trips by plane with the planning phase and transports by delivery firms with the executive phase.
Book
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Electronic paper, or e-paper, has been developed by different companies and research organisations for many years. E-paper is a collective term for many different technologies aiming at thin, flexible and energy efficient displays. First applications are already available or will enter the markets in the next years. One goal of e-paper is the substitution of conventional CRT and LCD displays. The combination of electronic media and paper is another objective of almost all participants in this area. It seems very likely that e-paper could become a new media for the newspaper sector if the proposed features of e-paper become reality. If so, already existing print and internet editions of newspapers and magazines could be substituted or even partially replaced by newspaper on e-paper. The present study compares for the first time the environmental characteristics of the three kinds of newspaper (printed, online and newspaper on e-paper) by concentrating on the cumulated energy demand of each type of newspaper with a main focus on newspaper on electronic paper.
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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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Aim and BackgroundElectronic media are spreading rapidly and some of the services they offer are similar to traditional media. Frequently, credit is given to electronic media for causing less environmental impact, however, looking at it more closely, little is known about the comparability of the environmental impact of both kinds of media. Main reasons for this lack of knowledge are difficulties in defining an adequate functional unit for a comparison of usually multifunctional media, as well as problems in gathering large amounts of inventory data for complex electronic goods. ObjectiveHere an LCA case study was conducted for reading or watching the daily news in an online and a printed newspaper as well as on TV. Aim of this study was to find an adequate functional unit as well as to quantify the environmental impact of each of the media, including recommendations for the reduction of their impact. In order to account for the multifunctionality of the investigated media as well as for ISO 14040ff. guidelines for the definition of the functional unit, several functional units were chosen. The selected functional units cover a spectrum of close functional equivalence to an altogether different approach in comparing entire activities. ResultsCompared on the basis of an average news item, the internet newspaper causes far more environmental impact than a TV news cast, which, in turn, causes more impact than a cutting of a newspaper. Major contributions to the high environmental impact of the internet newspaper are the manufacturing of the computer as well as operation of the necessary infrastructure for running the internet, in particular operation of the telephone network. Comparing media on the basis of consuming the daily news as a whole leads to less environmental impact for both of the electronic media in relation to a printed newspaper, even if shared amongst several readers. The comparative environmental advantage of the electronic media depends on a set of conditions: 1. No online information is printed. 2. Internet surfing is directed towards specific goals and therefore limited in time. 3. Power consumption is based to a large extent on renewable energy sources. This still holds true for the underlying national electricity mix of Switzerland with a high share of hydropower. A comparison of the average per capita time of watching TV with surfing in the internet and average paper consumption of free and bought print products also shows that most of the environmental impact results from print products. InterpretationSummarising the previously shown results, different perspectives on media and, with it, different functional units lead-not surprisingly-to different results. Relations between the environmental impact of the three media change between approaches. A final conclusion on a qualitative level is drawn. The first functional unit stands for close functional equivalence, however, itdoes not resemble options of the consumer in real life. The cuttings of a newspaper cannot be bought as such and the consumer is normally not interested in a single news item. The second functional unit is more of a representation of real life choices and is a typical example of a consumer’s choice that frequently has to decide between options which are not exactly functionally equivalent. Finally, the last approach, based on entire activities, supports the result of the previous approach. PerspectiveThe case study has shown that a comparison of multifunctional products or services excludes relevant environmental aspects, if functional equivalence is chosen as the unique reference unit. Thus, it is recommended to apply several approaches in order to do justice to the multifunctionality of the investigated products or services. ISO/TR 14049, with its concept of user acceptance, offers such a possibility to compare products or services which are still considered equivalent by the user.
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Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have relevant positive and negative impacts on environmental sustainability on various levels: First-order effects such as increasing electronic waste streams; second-order effects such as improved energy-efficiency of production; third-order effects such as a product-to-service shift in consumption or rebound effects in transport. In the simulation study described in this article, all known relevant effects on all three levels were modeled using a System Dynamics approach in combination with scenario techniques and expert consultations. The prospective study for the European Union with a time-horizon until 2020 revealed great potential for ICT-supported energy management and for a structural change towards a less material-intensive economy, but strong rebound effects in the transport sector whenever ICT applications lead to time or cost savings for transport.
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
Advances in digital technology and the growth of information networks are revolutionizing human activity. The Internet has been championed as a new tool for environmental improvement. A life-cycle energy analysis of digital libraries, a growing application of information technology, was conducted to test this premise.Life-cycle models were compared for journal collections in digital and traditional formats. The basis for analysis was the amount of information in a typical scientific journal article (∼12 pages), which is equivalent to 0.97 hr of on-screen reading time. Digital system elements such as servers, routers, laser printers, and computer workstations were modeled. Journal production, delivery, storage, binding, interlibrary loan, and photocopying were examined for the traditional system. Building-related infrastructure, office paper, and personal transportation of the library patron were analyzed for both cases. In all, the study incorporated nearly 30 model elements, 90 input variables, and numerous fixed parameters.Five primary scenarios were constructed to consider increasing levels of complexity. Scenario 1 assumes only one reading per article (unit of analysis). Additional scenarios assume 1,000 readings and vary the following: laser printing, photocopying, and personal transportation. Energy consumed by the digital collection ranged between 4.10 and 216 MJ. The traditional system realized burdens from 0.55 to 525 MJ. Four significant effects were uncovered: (1) Energy consumption per unit was highly influenced by the number of readings per article. (2) Networking infrastructure by itself had a relatively small effect on total energy consumed by the digital system. (3) When personal transportation was considered, its effects tended to dominate. (4) The impact of making personal copies varied. Photocopying always increased energy consumption, whereas laser printing actually saved energy when it substituted for on-screen reading.
Article
The potential and limitations of life cycle assessment and environmental systems analysis tools in general are evaluated. More specifically this is done by exploring the limits of what can be shown by LCA and other tools. This is done from several perspectives. First, experiences from current LCAs and methodology discussions are used including a discussion on the type of impacts typically included, quality of inventory data, methodological choices in relation to time aspects, allocation, characterisation and weighting methods and uncertainties in describing the real world. Second, conclusions from the theory of science are practised. It is concluded that it can in general not be shown that one product is environmentally preferable to another one, even if this happens to be the case. This conclusion has important policy implications. If policy changes require that it must be shown that one product is more (or less) environmentally preferable before any action can be taken, then it is likely that no action is ever going to take place. If we want changes to be made, decisions must be taken on a less rigid basis. It is expected that in this decision making process, LCA can be a useful input. Since it is the only tool that can be used for product comparisons over the whole life cycle, it can not be replaced by any other tool and should be used. Increased harmonisation of LCA methodology may increase the acceptability of chosen methods and increase the usefulness of the tool.
Article
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.
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
Viable alternatives to conventional newspapers, such as electronic papers, e-papers or e-readers, are intended to have many of the qualities of paper, such as reading using reflective light, high resolution, 180° viewing angle. It has been suggested that the environmental impact of e-paper can be lower than for printed and internet-based newspapers. However, in order to find the facts of the matter, a thorough life cycle perspective covering raw material acquisition, production, use and disposal should preferably be used to study the environmental performance of the different products. A screening life cycle assessment was performed to describe the potential environmental impacts of two product systems; printed on paper and tablet e-paper newspapers. Results show that the most significant phase of the life cycle for both product systems was the production of substrate or platform. Accordingly, key aspects that may affect the resulting environmental performance of newspaper product systems were for the printed newspaper number of readers per copy and number of pages per issue and for the tablet e-paper newspaper lifetime and multi-use of the device. The printed newspaper in general had a higher energy use, higher emissions of gases contributing to climate change and several other impact categories than the tablet e-paper newspaper. It was concluded that tablet e-paper has the potential to decrease the environmental impact of newspaper consumption. However, further studies regarding the environmental impact of production and waste management of electronic devices and internet use, as well as more comprehensive assessment of toxicological impacts are needed. As the data on the electronic devices becomes more comprehensive this may prove to be a major limitation of electronic newspaper systems. Developers are suggested to strive towards minimisation of toxic and rare substances in production.
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.
Article
Wireless information technologies are providing new ways to communicate, and are one of several information and communication technologies touted as an opportunity to reduce society's overall environmental impacts. However, rigorous system-wide environmental impact comparisons of these technologies to the traditional applications they may replace have only recently been initiated, and the results have been mixed. In this paper, the environmental effects of two applications of wireless technologies are compared to those of conventional technologies for which they can substitute. First, reading newspaper content on a personal digital assistant (PDA) is compared to the traditional way of reading a newspaper. Second, wireless teleconferencing is compared to business travel. The results show that for both comparisons wireless technologies create lower environmental impacts. Compared to reading a newspaper, receiving the news on a PDA wirelessly results in the release of 32-140 times less CO2, several orders of magnitude less NOx and SOx, and the use of 26-67 times less water. Wireless teleconferencing results in 1-3 orders of magnitude lower CO2, NOx, and SO2 emissions than business travel.
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.
A hitch-hikers guide to life cycle assessment Life cycle assessment of a mobile phone a model on manufacturing, using and recycling. Master's thesis De-materialising and re-materialising: digital technologies and the environment
  • Avfall Sverige
  • Malmö H Baumann
  • A-M Tillman
Avfall Sverige, Malmö Baumann H, Tillman A-M (2004) A hitch-hikers guide to life cycle assessment. Studentlitteratur, Lund Bergelin F (2008)) Life cycle assessment of a mobile phone a model on manufacturing, using and recycling. Master's thesis. Uppsala University. ISSN: 1401-5773, UPTEC Q08 014 Berkhout F, Hertin J (2004) De-materialising and re-materialising: digital technologies and the environment. Futures 36:903–920
The relevance of information and communication technologies for environmental sustainability A prospective simulation study
  • J B Guinée
  • M Gorrée
  • R Heijungs
  • G Huppes
  • R Kleijn
  • A De Koning
  • L Van Oers
  • Wegener Sleeswijk
  • A Suh
  • Udo De Haes
  • H A De Bruijn
  • J A Van Duin
  • R Huijbregts
  • Maj Arnfalk
  • P Erdmann
  • L Goodman
  • J Lehmann
  • M Wäger
Guinée JB, Gorrée M, Heijungs R, Huppes G, Kleijn R, de Koning A, van Oers L, Wegener Sleeswijk A, Suh S, Udo de Haes HA, de Bruijn JA, van Duin R, Huijbregts MAJ (2002) Handbook on life cycle assessment: Operational guide to the ISO standards. Series: Eco-efficiency in industry and science. Kluwer, Dordrecht Hilty LM, Arnfalk P, Erdmann L, Goodman J, Lehmann M, Wäger PA (2006) The relevance of information and communication technologies for environmental sustainability A prospective simulation study. Environ Model Software 21:1618-1629
Life cycle inventories of electric and electronic equipment—production, use & disposal
  • R M Classen
  • M Lehmann
  • Scharnhorst
R, Classen M, Lehmann M, Scharnhorst W (2007) Life cycle inventories of electric and electronic equipment—production, use & disposal. Final report ecoinvent Data v2.
Overview and Methodology Strommix und Stromnetz Implementation of life cycle impact assessment methods Digital versus print. Energy perfor-mance in the selection and use of scholarly journals
  • R N Jungbluth
  • H-J Althaus
  • G Doka
  • T Heck
  • S Hellweg
  • R Hischier
  • Rebitzer T G Nemecek
  • M Spielmann
  • Wernert
  • R Frischknecht
  • Faist M Tuchschmid
  • M Emmenegger
  • C Bauer
  • R Dones
  • Psi
  • Villigen Dübendorf
  • R Frischknecht
  • N Jungbluth
  • H-J Althaus
  • C Bauer
  • Dones G R Doka
  • Hischier
  • Humbert S Hellweg S
  • T Köllner
  • Y Loerincik
  • M Margni
  • Nemecek
R, Jungbluth N, Althaus H-J, Doka G, Heck T, Hellweg S, Hischier R, Nemecek T, Rebitzer G, Spielmann M, Wernert G (2007a) Overview and Methodology. Ecoinvent report No. 1 Swiss Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, Dübendorf Frischknecht R, Tuchschmid M, Faist Emmenegger M, Bauer C, Dones R (2007b) Strommix und Stromnetz. Sachbilanzen von Energiesystemen. Final report No. 6 ecoinvent data v2.0. In Dones R (ed), Volume: 6. Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, PSI, Dübendorf and Villigen Frischknecht R, Jungbluth N, Althaus H-J, Bauer C, Doka G, Dones R, Hischier., Hellweg S, Humbert S, Köllner T, Loerincik Y, Margni M, Nemecek T (2007c) Implementation of life cycle impact assessment methods. Ecoinvent report No. 3, v2.0. Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, Dübendorf Gard DL, Keoleian GA (2003) Digital versus print. Energy perfor-mance in the selection and use of scholarly journals. J Ind Ecol 6 (2):115–132
Svensk Avfallshantering 2008 (in Swedish) Avfall Sverige
  • Avfall Sverige
A hitch-hikers guide to life cycle assessment
  • H Baumann
  • A-M Tillman
Baumann H, Tillman A-M (2004) A hitch-hikers guide to life cycle assessment. Studentlitteratur, Lund
Life cycle assessment of a mobile phone a model on manufacturing, using and recycling. Master's thesis
  • F Bergelin
Bergelin F (2008)) Life cycle assessment of a mobile phone a model on manufacturing, using and recycling. Master's thesis. Uppsala University. ISSN: 1401-5773, UPTEC Q08 014
Pappersbok och elektronisk bok på läsplatta—en jämförande miljöbedömning (in Swedish Appendices in English)
  • C Borggren
  • Å Moberg
Strommix und Stromnetz
  • R Frischknecht
  • M Tuchschmid
  • Faist Emmenegger
  • M Bauer
  • C Dones
Handbook on life cycle assessment: Operational guide to the ISO standards. Series: Eco-efficiency in industry and science
  • Jb Guinée
  • M Gorrée
  • R Heijungs
  • G Huppes
  • R Kleijn
  • A De Koning
  • L Van Oers
  • Wegener Sleeswijk
  • A Suh
  • Udo De Haes
  • Ha De Bruijn
  • Ja Van Duin
  • R Huijbregts
Environmental impact: A comparison between print and electronic media
  • R Hischier
  • I Reichart
Hischier R, Reichart I (2001) Environmental impact: A comparison between print and electronic media. Proceedings of the 3 rd Ecopapertech Conference 2001, pp 397-406
Effects of a total change from paper invoicing to electronic invoicing in Sweden
  • Å Moberg
  • C Borggren
  • G Finnveden
  • S Tyskeng
Moberg Å, Borggren C, Finnveden G, Tyskeng S (2008) Effects of a total change from paper invoicing to electronic invoicing in Sweden. Report from the KTH Centre for Sustainable Communications TRITA-SUS 2008:3, Stockholm ISSN: 1654-479X
E-paper-Erste Abschätzung der Umweltsauswirkungen
  • C Kamburow
Kamburow C (2004) E-paper-Erste Abschätzung der Umweltsauswirkungen. Eine ökobilanzielle Betrachtung am Beispiel des Nachrichtenmediums Zeitung (In German). IZT WerkstattBericht Nr 67, Berlin
Life cycle inventories of electric and electronic equipment—production, use & disposal. Final report ecoinvent Data v2.0. Volume: 18
  • R Hischier
  • M Classen
  • M Lehmann
  • W Scharnhorst
Strommix und Stromnetz Sachbilanzen von Energiesystemen. Final report No. 6 ecoinvent data v2.0 Implementation of life cycle impact assessment methods
  • Swiss Swiss
  • Centre For Life Cycle
  • Dübendorf Inventories
  • R Frischknecht
  • M Tuchschmid
  • Faist Emmenegger
  • M Bauer
  • C Dones
  • R Psi
  • Villigen Frischknecht
  • R Jungbluth
  • N Althaus
  • H-J Bauer
  • C Doka
  • G Dones
  • R Hischier
  • S Hellweg
  • S Humbert
  • T Köllner
  • Y Loerincik
  • M Margni
  • T Nemecek
Swiss Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, Dübendorf Frischknecht R, Tuchschmid M, Faist Emmenegger M, Bauer C, Dones R (2007b) Strommix und Stromnetz. Sachbilanzen von Energiesystemen. Final report No. 6 ecoinvent data v2.0. In Dones R (ed), Volume: 6. Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, PSI, Dübendorf and Villigen Frischknecht R, Jungbluth N, Althaus H-J, Bauer C, Doka G, Dones R, Hischier., Hellweg S, Humbert S, Köllner T, Loerincik Y, Margni M, Nemecek T (2007c) Implementation of life cycle impact assessment methods. Ecoinvent report No. 3, v2.0. Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, Dübendorf
Printed scholarly books and e-book reading devices: A comparative life cycle assessment of two book options Centre for Sustainable Systems, University of Michigan Screening environmental life cycle assessment of printed, web based and tablet e-paper newspaper
  • G Kozak
  • M Johansson
  • G Finnveden
  • A Jonsson
Kozak G (2003) Printed scholarly books and e-book reading devices: A comparative life cycle assessment of two book options. Centre for Sustainable Systems, University of Michigan. Report No. CSS03-04. Michigan Moberg Å, Johansson M, Finnveden G, Jonsson A (2007) Screening environmental life cycle assessment of printed, web based and tablet e-paper newspaper. In IARIGAI proceedings. Advances in Printing and Media Technology 33: 414
Estimating energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of internet advertising Working Paper. Prepared for IMC2 Tillman AM (2000) Significance of decision-making for LCA methodology
  • C Taylor
  • J Koomey
Taylor C, Koomey J (2008) Estimating energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of internet advertising. February 14th, 2008 Working Paper. Prepared for IMC2 Tillman AM (2000) Significance of decision-making for LCA methodology. Environ Impact Asses Rev 20:113-123
Environmental impacts from digital solutions as an alternative to conventional paper-based solutions. FORCE Technology, Lyngby Senarclens de Grancy G (2008) Technical, ecological and economic aspects of electrophoretic display applications
  • Pré Consultants
Pré Consultants (2008) SimaPro 7, Amersfoort Schmidt A, Hedal Klöfverpris N (2009) Environmental impacts from digital solutions as an alternative to conventional paper-based solutions. FORCE Technology, Lyngby Senarclens de Grancy G (2008) Technical, ecological and economic aspects of electrophoretic display applications. Master's Thesis, Graz University of Technology
Multifunctional electronic mediatraditional media. The problem of an adequate functional unit. A case study of a printed newspaper, an internet newspaper and a TV broadcast
  • R Hischier
  • I Reichart
Hischier R, Reichart I (2003) Multifunctional electronic mediatraditional media. The problem of an adequate functional unit. A case study of a printed newspaper, an internet newspaper and a TV broadcast. Int J Life Cycle Assess 8(4):201-208
Svensk Avfallshantering Avfall Sverige A hitch-hikers guide to life cycle assessment Life cycle assessment of a mobile phone a model on manufacturing, using and recycling. Master's thesis
  • H Avfall Sverige Baumann
  • A-M Tillman
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Screening environmental life cycle assessment of printed, web based and tablet e-paper newspaper
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Pappersbok och elektronisk bok på läsplatta-en jämförande miljöbedömning (in Swedish
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