Beyond the Document: Sustainability in Citizen Identification With Digital ID Systems — Part 3
Beyond the Backroom. Digital ID Systems Take Sustainability Further.
Previously in this short series of articles investigating the environmental benefits of digital ID systems, we learned of the potential they hold for reducing CO² emissions by millions of kilograms per year, cutting wholesale waste of natural resources, and eliminating the need for many citizens to travel to government offices to secure new ID documents. These are important gains in the ongoing fight against climate change, but they are only what we see externally as citizens. Behind the scenes, in the backrooms of business and government offices, further gains in sustainability could be achieved with ID systems.
Less Backroom, Less Emissions
As digital ID systems provide superior speed and convenience to citizens — allowing them to avoid emissions-making office trips, prove their identity online and granting 24-hour access to secure ID channels — they are also shrinking their carbon footprint by millions of kilograms of CO² every year. Meanwhile, in back-offices across the globe, the digitalization of identity records could provide significant contribution in the race to net zero. The automation of case management processes, greater efficiency in enabling authorizations, and on-screen reporting, are just some of the backroom operations where ID systems improve sustainability — reducing the need for paper copies, the number of manually operated workstations, and the sum of energy required to run the processes. Less energy means less emissions, with the potential to deliver vast savings in CO². The elimination of just one workstation can reduce the production of greenhouse gases by 175 kilograms per year.
ID Systems and Work From Home — A Greener Combination
Good as the emissions savings from improved backroom processes are, the greatest back-office gains come with the reduction in physical locations. ID systems could give key workers secure remote access to the identity management system. This reduces their need to travel to central offices to carry out their responsibilities, presenting the opportunity to downsize or close those facilities.
In industrialized nations, the average office worker generates almost one tonne of CO² per year when they are part of a 200-person workforce. Much of that comes from lighting, heating, and cooling the office building. Digital ID supports hybrid working, with staff members working from home and only coming to the office when necessary. Fewer workers on-site requires less office space. Shrinking that 200-person unit by 50% could cut emissions equal to the planting of three trees per worker every year.
The Magic Bullet Theory
There is no single solution to get us to net zero. Limiting global warming to +1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial times and the targets of recent COP conventions will require change across the board and the participation of all of us. Digitized processes can play a key role in this global effort — making identity documentation processing easier, eliminating the requirement for citizens to travel to manage financial, legal, and tax affairs, and reducing the need for vast numbers of business and government offices and millions of commuter kilometers. Every gram of CO² saved is a success in this ongoing challenge. Digital ID is not a magic bullet in the battle against climate change, but it’s helping us get there, one citizen at a time.
Natascha Trivisas is the Director of Marketing Communications at HID’s Citizen Identity (CID) Business Area. In her role Natascha owns the marketing strategy and the overall operations of CID's marketing activities, making sure that customer pain points are addressed throughout the organization. Before joining HID's office in the UK, Basingstoke, she was located in Hong Kong where she worked as a Product Marketing Manager.