E-commerce seems to have a positive impact on the environment, says consultancy Oliver Wyman, which studied its impact in eight European countries.
Oliver Wyman Consultancy Report
Greenhouse gas emissions are up to 2.9 times higher for offline shopping compared to ordering online, which reduces car traffic. E-commerce distribution centres also take up less space than physical retail when logistics, selling space and parking space are added up. The report predicts that offline retail will still account for at least two-thirds of total sales 10 years from now, though the rise in omnichannel shopping is likely to blur online and offline retail.
What is the impact of e-commerce on the retail industry and the wider environment? This question is particularly important after 2020, a year dominated by the COVID-19 crisis, in which e-commerce played a critical role while many stores were closed.
eCommerce has a positive impact on carbon footprint. That's the result of a study that quantified the relevant effects end-to-end. We need to get over the discussion Offline vs. Online distribution. The right mix with an omnichannel approach can help to reduce the carbon footprint and improve customer journey.
As consumer traffic to store and store energy consumption are the main sources of offline CO2 emissions (90% of total offline and 2x the size of total online emissions), this is hugely offset by last mile delivery and DCs.
E-commerce complements offline retail (instead of causing its decline) and has a net positive contribution to jobs creation.
E-commerce has a lower environmental impact than offline retail as it originates 2.3 times less CO2 emissions, saves 4 to 9 times the traffic it generates and uses 26 to 43% less land.