Payments Report 2024

Are payments in Sweden efficient?

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Climate impact varies between payment methods

Published: 14 March 2024

According to a research study conducted by the Royal Institute of Technology and financed by the Riksbank, the climate impact of payments in Sweden is very low. For example, the total climate impact of all card and cash payments in Sweden, which contribute the highest climate impact per payment, is less than the total emissions of 2,000 Swedes in one year. The study also shows that the total climate impact of a payment method is higher the more it is used, but at the same time the climate impact per transaction is lower because the climate impact from, for example, IT systems transport and material can be distributed over more payments. Card payments that require more material and physical equipment such as card terminals have a higher climate impact than payments by Swish, for example.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has also conducted a study on the climate impact of euro banknotes. The study shows that the annual climate impact of using the banknotes in 2019 corresponded to 0.01 per cent of the total climate impact per citizen per year. This is roughly equivalent to driving a petrol car eight kilometres. The largest carbon footprint comes from the operation of ATMs, followed by cash transport.