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RX SUSTAINABILITY 2023 REPORT Delivering a difference

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The RetailX Sustainability 2023 report, which is available to pre-register for now, highlights that concerns around the environmental impact of product packaging and ecommerce delivery are now close to universal.

Being offered the option to choose a carbon-neutral delivery method for online orders is important to consumers, although numerous surveys show that many shoppers are likely to choose a cheaper delivery method if one is available. They also prefer fast delivery, such as next day, if it is pertinent to what they are buying.

A fifth of consumers say that carbon-neutral delivery, such as the use of an electrically powered delivery fleet, is very important to them. The percentage of shoppers saying that next day delivery is very important is higher at 30% of the same group of consumers surveyed by ConsumerX. A further 43% of those surveyed rank carbon neutral delivery as “important”.

Consumers in the two highly populated countries of India and China feel strongly about carbon-neutral delivery with 87% of shoppers in India saying it is important for online retailers to offer such services. 86% of consumers in China feel the same, as do 83% of online shoppers in Brazil.

Environmentally friendly delivery methods are less important to consumers in the other countries surveyed by ConsumerX. While 54% of consumers in Australia feel it is important or very important, 46% are unconcerned.

A similar situation is seen in Canada and the US. In the UK, the split is 60/40 with the majority believing that sustainable options should be on offer. How concerned individual shoppers are about air quality is likely to alter their feelings on low- or zero-carbon deliveries.

Cargo bikes save time and money
One study in the UK has found that if delivery companies switched to using cargo bikes instead of diesel vans for the first and last mile of deliveries it would save the National Health Service and other government services over £4bn by reducing the resulting costs of congestion and air pollution.

It is understandable that city authorities are keen to introduce or extend low emission zones and increase the number of cycle lanes. For carrier companies, these offer a way to reach their environmental targets as well as helping retail customers improve their own performance.

Transport for London (TfL) is working with boroughs, businesses and the freight and servicing industry to transform how deliveries and servicing trips are made in the UK’s capital. It sees cargo bikes as a way to provide safe, clean and efficient deliveries in London, something that is “vitally important” to the economy while transitioning to a healthier and more sustainable city.

Some 90% of goods in London are transported by road so TfL estimates that cargo bikes could replace up to 17% of van kilometres in the city centre by 2030.

Christina Calderato, director of strategy and policy, TfL, said: “Freight and servicing are the lifeblood of London’s economy but also contribute to air pollution, carbon emissions and traffic congestion. We are determined to provide a green, healthy and sustainable future for all Londoners and cargo bikes can play a vital role in cutting carbon emissions, air pollution and road danger. We will continue to work closely with our industry partners, businesses and boroughs across the capital to make our vision for cleaner and safer freight a reality.”

Furthermore, a study by the University of Westminster used GPS data to compare cargo bikes with vans operating in London. It found that cargo bikes were 1.6 times faster than traditional delivery vans. It also highlighted that cargo bikes could deliver seven parcels an hour compared to four in a van. With no need to find a parking space, valuable time can be spent on deliveries.

This feature was authored by Emma Herrod, and appears in the RetailX Sustainability 2023 report. Pre-register and have it delivered straight to your inbox on release. This year’s research highlights the extent to which the RetailX Global Elite 250 are sharing their sustainability journeys with customers and how customers are shopping with sustainability in mind.

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