Each day, one million parcels are delivered in Belgium, at a huge cost to society. To reduce this impact, Belgian retailers will show the most sustainable delivery options in their webshops and give the customers an informed choice.
188 million euros a year
The impact on the environment and society of these annual 365 million deliveries is enormous, in terms of – among others – carbon emissions, air pollution, noise pollution, traffic jams and infrastructure damage. A new study estimates the average social cost of each delivery at half a euro per parcel. As a result, the costs to society amount to 188 million euros a year, Brussels-based university VUB calculated. Opting for the most sustainable option can reduce that impact by 21 %, Belgian newspaper De Standaard reports.
The university has developed a new tool that maps the impact of parcel deliveries. Smartdrop shows retailers which delivery option between the distribution centre and the consumer is the most sustainable: delivery at home, at a pick-up point, at work… The tool takes into account the vehicle used and local traffic conditions, so the outcome may differ per postcode and per retailer. In the future, the tool could even calculate the most sustainable delivery option at street level.
Launching this year
Retailers can integrate the tool into their webshop to allow consumers to see which delivery option is the most sustainable when they make their purchase. However, they will still be free to make the final choice themselves. This year, the first applications will be visible in Belgian web shops: Vanden Borre and Ava will be the first to start using it, followed later by Decathlon, Dreamland and Ici Paris XL. The aim of the project is that eventually all retailers will join the project to raise awareness among buyers.
According to a survey by trade federation Comeos, conducted on 2,500 Belgians, 45 % of shoppers want to minimise the impact of their delivery. 59 % are willing to wait longer for their parcel if that helps, while 20 % are willing to pay more for it. Among young people, the latter figure is even higher, at 33 %.