Keywords: electronic invoicing, e-invoicing, life cycle assessment, LCA, energy use, cumulative energy demand, greenhouse gases, GHG emissions, Sweden, environmental impact, information technology, communication technology, ICT, paper use, printed invoices
Environmental impacts of electronic invoicing
Climate change threatens ecosystems and health and may cause severe economic impacts. All sectors of society need to act. New solutions based on information and communication technology (ICT) have been proposed to enable action. One possible conversion is from paper invoices to electronic invoices. The aim of this article is to increase current knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages of a possible total transition from all paper invoicing to all electronic invoicing in Sweden regarding cumulative energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. A screening life cycle assessment (LCA) was performed as a life cycle perspective should preferably be used when considering environmental impacts of products. The results of the study show that there are benefits from transition to electronic invoices regarding cumulative energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. The magnitude of the benefits is mainly dependent on the amount of paper used for the traditional invoices and whether the electronic invoices are printed.