How e-commerce plays out advantages in terms of sustainability – eCommerce Magazin


  • With the growth of e-commerce it is important to develop sustainable technologies and solutions that do not endanger the environment.
  • Platforms like Packlink can provide support due to their extensive experience in process automation and their agreements with logistics companies.

A study conducted by Oliver Wyman with the support of Logistics Advisory Experts (LAE) shows that e-commerce grew by 31 percent between 2019 and 2020. And it will continue to increase due to the Covid-19 crisis. But what does this development mean for the environment, that a product comes to the consumer and not the other way around, as usual? Data shows that e-commerce is positive in terms of sustainability. In Germany, for example, there are 1,000 grams of CO2 emissions for e-commerce. Instead of 3,000 grams of CO2 emissions for physical trade, that is 2.9 times more.

However, there are several factors that affect the appropriateness of consuming online or face-to-face. One of them is the form of access to physical business. According to the study by Oliver Wyman and LAE, CO2 emissions on foot or with environmentally friendly means of transport such as bicycles, electric scooters, public transport or car sharing platforms would be similar to online shops (approx. 700 grams of CO2 emissions). So we also have to take into account the energy consumption of the stores, so that here too the scales are tipping in favor of online consumption.

Environmentally conscious decides about the future of the logistics industry

Technology and sustainability will play a leading role in the future as tools for adapting the logistics industry to new shopping habits and preferences. Environmental awareness and the ability to develop sustainable projects are crucial for the future of the logistics industry. That is why many companies have already jumped on the sustainability bandwagon. E-commerce and logistics systems have brought about a significant development of innovative solutions in recent years. These make it possible to increase efficiency thanks to process automation and the introduction of artificial intelligence.

With Packlink Pro, a solution was created in the logistics sector with which all shipments of an e-commerce provider can be managed via one platform. Packlink makes the technology available free of charge with various functions. These enable the automation of the logistics processes, the integration with online shops and also the simplified management of shipments. This brings together the offerings of the most important transport companies, so that companies and online shops can save time and money.

Ben Askew-Renaut, CEO and co-founder of Packlink, explains: “Sustainable consumption has become one of the biggest trends in eCommerce in recent years, driven mainly by millennials and subsequent generations. Companies like ours need to be up to date to meet our customers’ needs in a sustainable way. At Packlink, process automation, which enables us to optimize energy consumption while using available resources more efficiently, is one of our most important achievements ”.

CO2 emissions: savings when shopping online

A study by Prologis shows that implementing circular routes for delivery vehicles could reduce CO2 emissions from transportation by up to 50 percent. In addition, the faster adoption of electric vehicles by delivery companies (compared to consumers’ larger vehicle fleets) increases the carbon savings of online shopping compared to in-store shopping. Although packaging is bigger in e-commerce, it doesn’t make up for the transport savings of online shopping. Overall, it is estimated that the end-to-end environmental impact of shopping online is around 15 percent lower than shopping in-store. The same study explains the three aspects that bring a significant long-term sustainability benefit.

  1. Location: The storage of goods close to the end consumer has advantages for the environment, since the parcels are concentrated and the logistical loading capacities of the goods transport are better used.
  2. Search for cost reduction Via the sales channel in e-commerce through order consolidation and network optimization: By concentrating the movement of goods in an aggregated and optimized network, the carbon footprint of online shopping can be up to 50 percent lower than that of traditional retail.
  3. Technology: As logistics companies increasingly turn to renewable energy and sustainable buildings to reduce their carbon footprint, the short and long term benefits are very real.

Packlink platform reduces CO2 emissions

There is no doubt that we need to look to a sustainable future. The key is to put the decision in the hands of the logistics customers. Using platforms like Packlink is a good option, also because of the alliances with players like eBay and Paypal. The platform also offers the use of the latest technology at competitive prices. This is accessible to consumers, small and medium-sized companies as well as large companies.