FORCE Technology has assessed the environmental impact of digital post distribution. The analysis shows positive environmental impact.

In 2001 e-Boks was established with the purpose to make the shipment of post between companies and private post receivers more efficient and thus reduce the amount of paper.

e-Boks asked FORCE Technology to assess the environmental impact of digital post distribution. Our assessment showed that e-Boks gave an environmental benefit corresponding to 160-190 average Danes’ yearly discharge of pollution. 

The most significant advantage is the contribution to the reduction of the CO2 emission of 1,650 tons of CO2. Digital post distribution can thus contribute to the solution of one of the big problems of our time – the global warming.

Joy at e-Boks 

This is the first time the environmental impact of digital post distribution is examined. At e-Boks they thought that electronic distribution of documents as for example statements of account, salary statements and pension overviews has a positive influence on the environment as both paper and fuel for transport are saved.

“I am happy that we can now document the positive environmental effect of handling nearly 100 mill. documents in e-Boks last year”, Henrik Andersen, managing director at e-Boks, says.

Live cycle assessments – from cradle to grave 

The same year where the life cycle assessment was carried out, 98.5 mill. electronic documents were sent out through e-Boks. The assessment was based on a comparison of the life cycle course of 98.5 mill. documents in electronic and paper form respectively.

A life cycle assessment (LCA) is a statement of the environmental impacts of the product from cradle to grave; in this case for instance extraction of raw materials to paper production, use of computers and removal of paper and envelopes. The assessment includes factors such as climate effect (global warming), acidification, impact of the aquatic environment through nutritive salts, smog formation and energy consumption.

Quintuplicating the positive climate outcome

Henrik Andersen estimates that the positive climate outcome could be multiplied by five if all Danish companies and institutions send out their window envelopes via e-Boks as 4-500 mill. letters of a type, which with advantage could be converted to e-Boks, are still sent out.

Furthermore, the users themselves can influent the positive climate outcome if they avoid printing the documents as at the same time the assessment reveals that printing can nearly halve the environmental advantage.