Online orders which are delivered at home have a huge negative impact on the environment and cause several million euros' worth of damage. The consumer also does not know about the environmental repercussions of online shopping.
As consumers have no idea about the downsides, they cannot make an informed decision about their method of delivery. Retailers always assume the consumer wants his or her order as fast as possible, which is why 'delivery within the hour' will become more popular, while that will actually decrease the delivery's efficiency. That is the outcome of a Thuiswinkel.org and consultancy firm EY's study.
The research has focused on the emissions created in the "last mile" of several delivery options and concluded that while conventional shopping has a larger environmental impact than online shopping, the latter still cost the environment damages in the 6.3 - 8.6 million euro range on a yearly basis.
Online retailers could limit their environmental impact by adding sustainable delivery options, like electric cars, and by giving the customer more information and choices. An estimated 190 million packages were delivered in 2014, a number that should grow to 280 million by 2020 if the current pace of growth is sustained.