Environmental policy

According to the news on Elise on January 11, 2019, for the past decade, e-commerce has been booming. It still generated an increase of 14.3% in 2017 for a total turnover of 81.7 billion euros in France (according to FEVAD). But, is e-commerce good for the environment? What is its environmental impact? Can we reduce its carbon footprint and if so how?

1.       The ecological benefits of e-commerce

E-commerce, like any business sector, has advantages and disadvantages. But, first of all, we must remember that e-commerce has totally changed our way of consuming: no need to travel anymore because we can have it delivered at home! And this is one of the positive points of e-commerce: the parcel deliveryman emits less CO2 during his delivery round than all his customers if they had decided to go to a store (or even several) by car. Less travel = less pollution! Moreover, the storage of the products is done in a warehouse instead of a traditional store. Therefore, there is no need for advantageous lighting for the products or heating in winter to keep customers warm. This results in energy savings! Finally, e-commerce generates fewer product returns than traditional commerce. Why is this? Because the procedure for returning the product is longer and more tedious for the customer. As a result, there are less CO2 emissions. But, the customer can get rid of his useless product by offering it in classified ads. Thus, it will have a second life. These sites have a very good environmental impact because they promote recycling and limit the waste of objects.

2.       The ecological prejudices of the e-commerce

But, e-commerce has not only advantages, it also harms the environment in two ways: when you browse the website to make your order and when you are delivered. Yes, browsing a website is not without consequences for the planet! Indeed, the Internet is composed of thousands of servers used to host websites (e-commerce or not) or to allow Internet users to navigate between the different websites. And these servers must be supplied with electricity! Their energy consumption is huge considering their size and their need to be cooled permanently to avoid overheating. Parcel delivery is another major ecological problem because there are more and more parcels to be delivered with customers who are more and more demanding about their delivery time. Express deliveries in less than 24 hours have multiplied to meet this demand, but they generate more pollution because the delivery person generally travels for a single product. The result is that delivery routes are multiplied, fuel consumption increases and so do greenhouse gases. The carbon footprint of this purchase then largely exceeds that of a purchase in a traditional store.

3.       Some solutions proposed by ORAPECO for a lower carbon footprint

In order to limit the carbon footprint when ordering on the website www.orapeco.fr, you just have to follow these advices:

- Buy on local e-commerce websites in order to limit the delivery distance (and thus the CO2 emissions);

- Group your purchases as much as possible on the same store to avoid the parcel with only one product;

- Do not make uncertain purchases in order to avoid returning a product and thus doubling your CO2 emissions;

- Do not make an express delivery at home and choose a delivery in a relay point (the carrier drops off several packages at the same time);

- Choose 100% recyclable or recycled packaging (e.g. kraft paper instead of foam);

- Choose an eco-responsible computer server that offers, for example, a natural cooling method (thus no overconsumption of energy).