The Italian publishing houses are traditionally based on printed books. However, in the last years, another tool for conveying content and information has been developed with the introduction of digital books (e-books). E-books have the advantage of offering a wide range of digital content and of avoiding carrying a weight, but the “digital cost” is not burden-free in terms of environmental impacts. As of now, the most widespread proposal of the Italian publishing houses to schools is a mixed package (called “type b ministerial book”), including a printed and an e-book. This work has assessed the potential environmental impacts related to the type b ministerial book as commercialised by the Italian company Zanichelli. The average printed book weights 860 grams and it is made of 400 pages, while the e-book is composed of the same pages of the printed book in digital format plus a variety of videos and interactive exercises. The analysis was performed through the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology with the main objective to identify the stages that give rise to the main environmental burdens along the supply chain. Results of the analysis have been used to recommend to the company some improvements to the environmental performance of its product. A particular focus has been dedicated to the e-book life cycle, whose environmental impacts are expected to be highly dependent on usage patterns. In fact, the user might transfer a variable amount of digital information from the data center (i.e. downloading a certain amount of Gigabyte) during a scholastic year and the time spent on the e-book reading device can range from a few minutes to many hours per year. Primary data related to the Zanichelli company for the year 2019 were collected as far as possible, in order to model the system of the analysed product, otherwise for the background data the ecoinvent database, version 3.7.1 was used. Fifteen midpoint impact indicators of the Environmental Footprint method (version 3.0), recommended by the European Commission, were calculated. In accordance with the adopted assumptions for the current situation, most of the impacts of the mixed book are associated to the life cycle of the printed book, with a contribution to the total burden higher than 80% in all the analysed impact categories. This result is mainly due to the production of the coated, wood-free, virgin paper in an amount of 1 kilogram per one printed book. On the other hand, the impacts associated to the life cycle of the e-book are minor (always lower than 15% of the total impact), since the current usage is very low. In fact, an average user of the e-book accesses only one eighth of the available digital material per year and the overall time spent reading the downloaded material is only 5% of the total time dedicated to learn the subject. However, a sensitivity analysis on the usage patterns of the e-book has been performed and the outcome highlights an important influence of these parameters on the results. In case the e-book is used to a greater extent (i.e. downloading of the full digital content and learning of the subject entirely done on the e-book), the impacts of the mixed book would significantly increase, between + 17% and + 229% depending on the impact category. Most of the impacts of the e-book resulted associated to the electricity consumption used for both the transfer of the digital material from the data center to the final user and the use of an electronic reader. Moreover, in some impact categories, also the production of the electronic device resulted in a significant environmental burden, although less of 1% of its production impacts have been allocated to the analysed function of learning. In the last part of the study, it was analysed how the impacts of school publishing would change if the market moved from the current mixed package (paper book plus the e-book with a minimal use) to the product only in the digital version (called ministerial book c in the Italian context). The use of the book type c would reduce the impacts in 12 out of 15 impact categories, while in two impact categories (freshwater eutrophication and depletion of minerals and metals) an evident increment of the environmental burden would be shown.

L’industria dell’editoria scolastica, tradizionalmente basata su copie cartacee, è da tempo indirizzata verso la progressiva digitalizzazione del prodotto. Questo articolo fornisce una valutazione quantitativa degli impatti ambientali associati alla filiera produttiva, distributiva e d’uso del libro scolastico in modalità mista di tipo b commercializzato dal gruppo editoriale Zanichelli. Tale libro si compone di un volume cartaceo di 400 pagine e di un e-book multimediale. Lo studio, effettuato secondo la metodologia di valutazione del ciclo di vita (Life Cycle Assessment, LCA) è stato svolto con l’obiettivo di effettuare una prima valutazione dei carichi ambientali del prodotto in esame, in modo da individuare i margini di miglioramento e quindi indirizzare le strategie di sostenibilità ambientale della casa editrice. Particolare attenzione è stata posta sul prodotto digitale, sia perché in espansione, sia perché i carichi ambientali ad esso associati risultano influenzati dalle modalità d’uso dell’utente, differenziandosi fortemente in questo dal libro cartaceo. L’analisi ha incluso tutte le fasi coinvolte nella filiera editoriale, descritta prevalentemente con dati primari del gruppo Zanichelli per l’anno 2019 e ha indagato 15 categorie di impatto ambientale proposte nel metodo di caratterizzazione Environmental Footprint 3.0 raccomandato dalla Commissione Europea. Gli impatti ambientali del libro misto, nello scenario d’uso attuale della componente digitale (visione online/scaricamento su dispositivo personale di un ottavo dell’e-book e sua consultazione per il 5% del tempo di apprendimento), sono principalmente associati al ciclo di vita del libro cartaceo, soprattutto alla produzione di carta vergine per la sua realizzazione. Attualmente le potenzialità dell’e-book sono poco sfruttate e di conseguenza il suo carico ambientale è ridotto. Tuttavia, se l’e-book venisse utilizzato al massimo delle sue potenzialità (visione online/scaricamento di tutto l’e-book e sua consultazione per il 100% del tempo dedicato all’apprendimento della materia), gli impatti complessivi del libro misto di tipo b subirebbero un aumento importante per 15 delle 16 categorie di impatto analizzate, oscillante tra il +17% e il +229% (ad esempio, +59% per le categorie cambiamento climatico e consumo di risorse energetiche non rinnovabili).

EDITORIA SCOLASTICA E IMPATTI AMBIENTALI: ANALISI DEL CASO ZANICHELLI TRAMITE LA METODOLOGIA LCA

Camilla Tua;Giulia Cavenago;Mario Grosso;Lucia Rigamonti
2022

Abstract

L’industria dell’editoria scolastica, tradizionalmente basata su copie cartacee, è da tempo indirizzata verso la progressiva digitalizzazione del prodotto. Questo articolo fornisce una valutazione quantitativa degli impatti ambientali associati alla filiera produttiva, distributiva e d’uso del libro scolastico in modalità mista di tipo b commercializzato dal gruppo editoriale Zanichelli. Tale libro si compone di un volume cartaceo di 400 pagine e di un e-book multimediale. Lo studio, effettuato secondo la metodologia di valutazione del ciclo di vita (Life Cycle Assessment, LCA) è stato svolto con l’obiettivo di effettuare una prima valutazione dei carichi ambientali del prodotto in esame, in modo da individuare i margini di miglioramento e quindi indirizzare le strategie di sostenibilità ambientale della casa editrice. Particolare attenzione è stata posta sul prodotto digitale, sia perché in espansione, sia perché i carichi ambientali ad esso associati risultano influenzati dalle modalità d’uso dell’utente, differenziandosi fortemente in questo dal libro cartaceo. L’analisi ha incluso tutte le fasi coinvolte nella filiera editoriale, descritta prevalentemente con dati primari del gruppo Zanichelli per l’anno 2019 e ha indagato 15 categorie di impatto ambientale proposte nel metodo di caratterizzazione Environmental Footprint 3.0 raccomandato dalla Commissione Europea. Gli impatti ambientali del libro misto, nello scenario d’uso attuale della componente digitale (visione online/scaricamento su dispositivo personale di un ottavo dell’e-book e sua consultazione per il 5% del tempo di apprendimento), sono principalmente associati al ciclo di vita del libro cartaceo, soprattutto alla produzione di carta vergine per la sua realizzazione. Attualmente le potenzialità dell’e-book sono poco sfruttate e di conseguenza il suo carico ambientale è ridotto. Tuttavia, se l’e-book venisse utilizzato al massimo delle sue potenzialità (visione online/scaricamento di tutto l’e-book e sua consultazione per il 100% del tempo dedicato all’apprendimento della materia), gli impatti complessivi del libro misto di tipo b subirebbero un aumento importante per 15 delle 16 categorie di impatto analizzate, oscillante tra il +17% e il +229% (ad esempio, +59% per le categorie cambiamento climatico e consumo di risorse energetiche non rinnovabili).
The Italian publishing houses are traditionally based on printed books. However, in the last years, another tool for conveying content and information has been developed with the introduction of digital books (e-books). E-books have the advantage of offering a wide range of digital content and of avoiding carrying a weight, but the “digital cost” is not burden-free in terms of environmental impacts. As of now, the most widespread proposal of the Italian publishing houses to schools is a mixed package (called “type b ministerial book”), including a printed and an e-book. This work has assessed the potential environmental impacts related to the type b ministerial book as commercialised by the Italian company Zanichelli. The average printed book weights 860 grams and it is made of 400 pages, while the e-book is composed of the same pages of the printed book in digital format plus a variety of videos and interactive exercises. The analysis was performed through the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology with the main objective to identify the stages that give rise to the main environmental burdens along the supply chain. Results of the analysis have been used to recommend to the company some improvements to the environmental performance of its product. A particular focus has been dedicated to the e-book life cycle, whose environmental impacts are expected to be highly dependent on usage patterns. In fact, the user might transfer a variable amount of digital information from the data center (i.e. downloading a certain amount of Gigabyte) during a scholastic year and the time spent on the e-book reading device can range from a few minutes to many hours per year. Primary data related to the Zanichelli company for the year 2019 were collected as far as possible, in order to model the system of the analysed product, otherwise for the background data the ecoinvent database, version 3.7.1 was used. Fifteen midpoint impact indicators of the Environmental Footprint method (version 3.0), recommended by the European Commission, were calculated. In accordance with the adopted assumptions for the current situation, most of the impacts of the mixed book are associated to the life cycle of the printed book, with a contribution to the total burden higher than 80% in all the analysed impact categories. This result is mainly due to the production of the coated, wood-free, virgin paper in an amount of 1 kilogram per one printed book. On the other hand, the impacts associated to the life cycle of the e-book are minor (always lower than 15% of the total impact), since the current usage is very low. In fact, an average user of the e-book accesses only one eighth of the available digital material per year and the overall time spent reading the downloaded material is only 5% of the total time dedicated to learn the subject. However, a sensitivity analysis on the usage patterns of the e-book has been performed and the outcome highlights an important influence of these parameters on the results. In case the e-book is used to a greater extent (i.e. downloading of the full digital content and learning of the subject entirely done on the e-book), the impacts of the mixed book would significantly increase, between + 17% and + 229% depending on the impact category. Most of the impacts of the e-book resulted associated to the electricity consumption used for both the transfer of the digital material from the data center to the final user and the use of an electronic reader. Moreover, in some impact categories, also the production of the electronic device resulted in a significant environmental burden, although less of 1% of its production impacts have been allocated to the analysed function of learning. In the last part of the study, it was analysed how the impacts of school publishing would change if the market moved from the current mixed package (paper book plus the e-book with a minimal use) to the product only in the digital version (called ministerial book c in the Italian context). The use of the book type c would reduce the impacts in 12 out of 15 impact categories, while in two impact categories (freshwater eutrophication and depletion of minerals and metals) an evident increment of the environmental burden would be shown.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1219354
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