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Electronic Invoicing and Dinosaurs

Much has been said about the benefits of electronic invoicing. The cost and resource benefits for companies is well known, the contribution to reducing the VAT Gap is coming to light (just look at the recent Italian Mandate) and weighed down by the burden of manual processing they increase staff morale.

There are, of course, many others.

One area, however, often taking a back seat of the incentives of e-invoicing is the environmental impact of paper invoicing.

66 million years ago an asteroid travelling at 44,640 miles per hour smashed into the Gulf of Mexico with the force of at least 21 billion Hiroshima bombs. The asteroid, the size of Manhattan, wiped out the dinosaurs along with a host of other animals and plants. This was the fifth major extinction event of our planet. We are going through a sixth one: A self-made mass extinction event scientists call the Holocene extinction.

So, the environmental impact of humanity can be compared to an asteroid the size of Manhattan hitting the earth with the force of 21 billion atomic bombs. Paper use is a major culprit in this extinction. 

The majority of businesses want to improve their environmental image and this should be incentive enough for change - tap into the public imagination and the changeover will enliven. Due to the B2B nature of invoicing and - let’s face it - the boredom excited by invoicing very few people outside of business have an inkling of the impact of this critical business document. The general public simply doesn’t know or care. It’s time to change this. The importance of environmentally sustainable invoicing is essential not only to people’ livelihoods but the future of the planet. We shouldn’t be coy about talking about this. It needs ramming down people’s throats! Let’s look at a few facts.


  • The paper industry is the fifth largest consumer of energy in the world.


  • Paper consumption has increased by 400% in the past forty years.


  • The paper industry uses more water than any other business when producing paper.


  • 35% of all harvested trees are used paper manufacture.


  • For every one office worker in the UK 10000 -20000sheets of paper are used or about 2 trees per office worker per year.


  • 80% of paper can be reduced from accounting departments by e-invoicing.


  • Removal of paper from the invoice process decreases the carbon footprint of an invoice by 63%.

Alongside these more prominent facts and figures there are a host of other environmental areas that can be saved through e-invoicing. These include transportation costs, storage costs (invoices in the UK need to be stored for 6 years) and paper simply going into the bin.

I view the invoice as not only one of the pillars of any business but rather one of the pillars of the economy. Whilst we move into a very uncertain economic year, electronic invoicing needs to be at the forefront of people’s minds. We are very adept at spreading the message that electronic invoicing is the technological panacea it clearly is; however, can we be accused of being dinosaurs in how we spread our public image? Appealing to the environmental impact of traditional invoicing will electrify the public imagination and in turn motivate corporate social responsibility.









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Paul Dawson

Paul Dawson



Member since

08 Jan 2019



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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Electronic invoicing

A discussion and guidance on the path to full scale adoption of electronic invoicing by corporates, goverments, SME's and consumers, creating savings up to € 60 billion in 2020. With a focus on: trends, business models, processes, technology, and legal issues.

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