Virtualization, or replacing physical infrastructure with digital solutions, is a core topic in our industry. It can be used in a wide range of areas, also opening up opportunities for sustainability. We have analyzed the gradual shift from printed to online bills at Deutsche Telekom in more detail using our new impact measurement concept.
The entire impact chain was assessed for both paper and online billing. The comparison shows that the negative environmental impact of online billing is substantially lower (> 50%), primarily due to the reduced consumption of paper and ink and reduced logistics services. The effects are particularly positive for SDGs 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 14.
We also looked at adverse effects, such as sales losses for the wood and paper industry and the logistics industry. However, they do not influence the results as much as the positive effects; in addition, they are part of the overarching structural shift toward increased digitalization.