ecommerce transport sustainable

Transport for ecommerce, is it sustainable?

For 2 years, click purchases haven´t stopped growing. Since the state of alarm associated with Covid-19, online sales have taken off by around 50%. And in the post-pandemic, these figures consolidate and maintain their uptrend. But shopping from the sofa also involves considerable carbon footprint.

The immediacy model, the home transport service, the free service and the free return policies are in question.

“I want it all and I want it now.” Is this system sustainable?

We explain its background and provide data to improve it.

What impact does express delivery have? The optimization of the last mile and its consequences

Ecommerce has become necessary. It is being essential during the pandemic.

But the ecommerce model that is prevailing isn´t sustainable. Internal combustion vehicles, double or triple attempts due to failed deliveries, low occupancy of the delivery vehicle and dozens of operators offering the same service without connection between them.

And this is not only due to a system that feeds delivery increasingly faster and free of charge, with which logistics efficiency, and costs associated with the transport and distribution of goods, take the profitability of many companies in the transport sector to marginal levels.

It is estimated that 25% of the total emissions of polluting gases come from the transport of goods. This means that the decline of the air quality of the Spanish population living in urban areas can put in risk the health of more than 80% of them.

At the same time, according to UN data, fashion, one of the most purchased products, produces more carbon emissions than all flights and maritime shipments combined.

Let’s all make the ecommerce logistics more sustainable

There are many factors that come together to make ecommerce logistics more environmentally friendly. And they all relate to the needs and expectations of the user with the systems of the transport platforms. These are some of the proposals that are being considered to achieve it:

  • We consumers are more demanding than ever. But we must be aware of the impact of fast shipping. A possibility is that platforms let you choose between an express or normal delivery, explaining both consequences. A normal delivery makes it possible to make better use of the cargo space.
  • Platforms must have solutions to avoid second or third delivery opportunities. Route optimization technology and the fact that the user makes clear their availability of space and hours contribute to a good delivery. The collection in points dedicated exclusively to it is also a solution.
  • If we avoid different product purchases only for testing, we will not lead to the reverse logistics involved. And this is related to the possibilities of free returns. In addition, these returns have a direct impact on packaging and waste generation.
  • The rush in express delivery forces the shipment to be overpacked so that the product is not damaged. And this is done with plastics.
  • Local deliveries are more sustainable and flexible.
  • Combine several orders in the same delivery.
  • Sustainable packaging is a challenge faced by more and more brands.
  • Joining circular economy and reverse logistics can have great environmental benefits. Convert your by-products and waste into new products through under-recycling. An example: Planeta Huerto takes advantage of the cardboard of the containers in which the products arrive and transforms it into filling for shipments.
  • There are last-mile companies that go beyond sustainable mobility. One of them is Koiko, a startup owned by the Repsol Foundation, that uses sustainable means of transport in its deliveries while generating employment for vulnerable groups.

Online shopping has no going back. Sustainability is imperative. Collaboration between all the actors in the process is essential.