There’s been a lot of debate about which shopping channel is the most eco-friendly. Now fact-based answers have emerged.
According to a recently updated study from Carnegie Mellon’s Green Design Institute, buying online has significantly less impact on the environment. It reduces energy consumption and produces roughly 30% less carbon dioxide than buying at a traditional retailer. Environmental savings are even more substantial if online purchases are shipped via ground rather than air.
Roughly 65% of the energy used in traditional retail is consumed by shoppers driving to the store. E-commerce is substantially more efficient because one UPS truck delivers to many customers in a tight geography. Only a small portion of those transportation savings are offset by the additional packaging needed.
Experts predict that the green gap between the two channels will increase in the future as shipping companies are quicker than shoppers to adopt hybrid and electric vehicles.
What are the implications for us? Should we focus more attention on selling our products via e-commerce? Should we help educate consumers on the green benefits of shopping online?
Image Source: Carnegie Mellon Green Design Institute, 2011