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Analysing the ICT-Paper Interplay and its environemental Implications

  • Peter Arnfalk
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Document type: Report
Publisher: CEPI – Confederation of European Paper Industries

Abstract english

This report studies the interplay between the use of paper and of information and communication technology (ICT). The aim is to explore how these two products/services can be compared from an environmental point of view. Similarities, differences and functions of ICT and paper are analysed in order to address the question: what are the environmental implications from substituting the use of paper with ICT, and vice-versa? As paper and ICT services currently to large extent are used complementary, the report is also discussing the perspective of how these services could co-exist.

Taking into consideration the complexity of both sectors, the report looks not only at the impact of one ICT application versus one type of paper use, but three – substitution, generation and complementary use. Three ICT applications have been selected for an in-depth study, on:

• service – traditional delivery mail versus communication using electronic email;

• technology – the e-book reader that undergoes a rapid development at the moment;

• concept – higher education being an early adaptor of technology.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Paper
  • information and communication technology
  • ICT
  • IT
  • environment
  • life cycle assessment
  • LCA
  • email
  • postal service
  • education
  • ebook reader


Peter Arnfalk
E-mail: peter [dot] arnfalk [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Lund University P.O. Box 196, 22100 Lund, Sweden
Visiting Address: Tegnérsplatsen 4,Lund

Telephone: + 46 46 222 00 00 Fax: + 46 46 222 02 10