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Fewer shoppers now believe ecommerce is bad for the environment – and a quarter don’t care: study

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Fewer shoppers now believe that shopping online is bad for the environment – while a significant minority don’t care about eco-friendly delivery options, a new study suggests. That makes it more important to explain to consumers the environmental effects of shopping online – and how green delivery options can help, says Sendcloud co-founder Rob van den Heuvel.

Ecommerce shipping platform Sendcloud questioned 1,000 UK adults via Nielsen and found that 53% believe that the growth of online shopping is a problem for the environment, down from 57% in 2020. Meanwhile more than a quarter (26%) say they don’t care. 

But an Accenture, Frontier Economics report predicts that carbon emissions from urban delivery traffic will grow by almost a third (32%) by 2030, unless action is taken. 

The report comes as Cop26 takes place in Glasgow. The United Nations climate conference is seen as the last chance to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, and the UK government has previously suggested ways in which retailers can help to achieve that

Almost (48%) half of respondents to the SendCloud survey said they preferred to have green delivery options at checkout, but not having them prevents only 7% of consumers from buying. Just over one in 10 (11%) would choose green delivery if it didn’t increase the cost, while 15% would shop elsewhere if there were no green delivery options. 

Too much packaging is an issue for 75% of consumers, while 80% believe delivery packaging should be fully recyclable. 

“We have a chicken and egg scenario in ecommerce right now, as online retailers can only supply green delivery options if consumers themselves also want to contribute,” says Rob van den Heuvel, chief executive and co-founder at Sendcloud. “This means we all have to become more flexible, increase investment in greener deliveries, and be patient with shipping times if we are to make a difference. Better education into the effects ecommerce and delivery has on the environment is needed, as it’s unlikely consumers will continue to operate in this way if they understand the consequences of their actions.

“Although retailers are working with shipping providers to provide more eco-friendly services, such as electric vans and CO2-neutral deliveries, and the cost and time taken to provide green delivery is improving, it will take a concerted effort from all of us to change the planet for the better.”

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