We conduct a comparative life cycle assessment of two business card options: a smartphone software and the common paper-based alternative. Life cycle impacts of production, distribution and use of business cards were compared and contrasted for both systems. Given the prevalence and multifunctionality of digital devices and services, we analyze the environmental impacts of the two systems and evaluate their total energy consumption, Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and toxic releases by conducting a two-stage life cycle assessment with alternating functional units. The results indicate that, for a small-scale functional unit, the paper-based business card system causes slightly less environmental impact and has lower energy demand than the software-based (digital) business card system. Whereas when considering the more likely, large scale (real world scenario) functional unit, the digital business card system is more environmentally friendly and economical in terms of energy consumption. By comparing these two systems, this paper serves businesses and consumers when considering environmental consequences and energy depletion of their business networking options.
Karapetyan, A., Yaqub, W., Kirakosyan, A., & Sgouridis, S. (2015). A two-stage comparative life cycle assessment of paper-based and software-based business cards. In Procedia Computer Science (Vol. 52, pp. 819–826). Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2015.05.138