Consulting Report
13 Jun 2024

The Environmental Impact of Digital Over Cash Payments in Europe

Commissioned by European Digital Payments Industry Alliance

On behalf of the European Digital Payment Industry Alliance (EDPIA), our report on “The Environmental Impact of Digital over Cash Payments in Europe” seeks to evaluate carbon emissions across payment systems at point of sales.

Businesses and governments are becoming more and more focused on mitigating the effects of climate change through processes and policies, and the payment sector is no exception. As digital payments become more prevalent—with the number of non-cash payments doubling from 21% in 2016 to 41% in 2022 in the euro-area alone according to the European Central Bank—there has been a growing need to understand the environmental effects of these shifting preferences. Although some evidence indicates that digital payments have a smaller environmental footprint than cash payments, there has not been a comparative lifecycle assessment done between the two of them. In addition, given large differences across geographies, the actual impacts of payment methods at points of sales (POS) can differ widely from country to country.

To examine this issue, this study utilises a Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) following the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) guidelines. A method Oxford Economics has added to its toolkit, the LCA is a holistic approach that appraises environmental impacts across stages of a product lifecycle on a variety of categories. Which, in this case, includes a total of different 18 categories including for example, global warming potential, mineral resource scarcity, and ionizing radiation. This cradle-to-grave approach is used for three purposes:

To download the report that has been approved by an expert panel review, please complete the form below.

The experts behind the research

Our Economic Consulting team are world leaders in quantitative economic analysis, working with clients around the globe and across sectors to build models, forecast markets and evaluate interventions using state-of-the art techniques. The lead consultants on this project were:

Jan Sun

Senior Economist

Hannah Marie Zick
Hannah Zick

Economist

Johanna Neuhoff

Associate Director Of Consulting

Read the report

Complete the form below to download the report.

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