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Commerce Case Study

ICT has a role to play in how we buy and receive goods and what we buy. Financial transactions are being carried out online, delivery companies are carefully managing their fleets to ensure drivers take the most efficient route and speed (smart logistics) and consumers are increasingly moving towards virtual goods. Mobile broadband and more specifically 4G are incredibly important in supporting this new type of commerce.

“…for too long our

economy has been defined by paper. This is changing. Banks are incentivizing people to select paperless transactions as it makes sense: it saves money, paper and time and fewer errors take place.”

Dan Esty Economic benefits

• Carrying out transactions and banking over the internet is more economically efficient for the vendor as they require fewer outlets.

• Smart logistics minimize distance travelled, fuel consumption and therefore costs.

• Enhanced networks create new markets and innovative applications and services such as Apple’s iPhone®

and associated apps, Netflix’s video streaming and Amazon’s Kindle and e-books.


The impact that these changing consumer trends can have on emissions is marked. It is predicted that:

• Extending the range of products regularly ordered online offers potential emissions reductions in the EU of 2.5 million metric tons of CO2

year41 equivalent to 490,000 cars on the road.42

• Shifting newspaper subscriptions from physical to online media alone will save 52 million tons of CO2

in the

next 10 years equivalent to 10 million cars on the road.43

• If half of the movie rentals in 2007 were accessed by video-on-demand, the country could save the equivalent of 200,000 households’ annual electricity consumption and 1.3 million tons CO2


“In the future, mobile devices will be an integral part of everyday life. They will have in-built, automated services that will help people decrease their environmental impact whilst enhancing quality of life.”

Markus Terho, Nokia a Social

Carrying out commerce online is more convenient for the customer and can enhance the consumer experience. Amazon’s Kindle onto which readers can download books, publications, magazines and newspapers is easily portable. Customer satisfaction is evident in the fact that Amazon’s electronic books are now outselling their printed counterparts.

For every 100 print books being snatched up on, 105 Kindle e-books are being sold, and Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos could not be happier:

“Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly – we’ve been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years”.45

41. Accenture and Vodafone, 2009. Carbon Connections Quantifying mobile’s role in tackling climate change. Available from Last accessed June 16th, 2011.

42. Using the EPA Green Power Equivalency Calculator’s conversion of 5.1 metric tons CO2-e /vehicle/year.

43. Fuhr & Pociask, 2007. Broadband Services: Economic and Environmental Benefits. Available from Last accessed June 16th, 2011.

44. Consumer Electronics Association, 2007. The Energy and Greenhouse Gas Impact of Telecommuting and e-commerce. Available from Last accessed June 16th, 2011.

45. Cited in Kindle e-books outselling print books. Available from Last accessed June 16th, 2011.


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