CO2 emissions per e-commerce package down 56% over last 5 years

10/12/2023
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CO2 emissions in the last mile for an e-commerce parcel have decreased by 56% compared to 2018, to an average of 100 grams of CO2 per parcel. This is according to research by Thuiswinkel.org, conducted in cooperation with Topsector Logistiek, and several carriers and online shops. The sector now aims to reduce CO2 emissions in the last mile by 90% by 2030.

Emissions per parcel have decreased
In recent years, the e-commerce sector has seen unprecedented growth. Whereas 351 million parcels continued to be sent in 2018, this will increase to 611 million in 2022. The average emission per e-commerce parcel sent was 230 grams of CO2 per parcel on average in 2018. By 2022, this will have decreased to 100 grams of CO2 emissions per parcel (-56%). Marlene ten Ham, director at Thuiswinkel.org: "This is a very nice step. The decrease in CO2 emissions is mainly due to increased efficiency in the last mile. Think of more depots, more vehicles with lower emissions and smaller packaging so that more parcels fit in the means of transport and steps have been taken in electrification and bicycle delivery. As an e-commerce sector, we want to work together to get a grip on and reduce CO2 emissions from online order deliveries.

This monitor now shows that we are well on our way, but we certainly still have something to gain." Herman Wagter, program manager Top Sector Logistics: "The e-commerce sector is showing great cooperation here in calculating CO2 emissions ever better. This helps to reduce effectively and also include the consumer in this."

Delivery at pickup point not always more climate-friendly
On average, having an online order delivered to a pickup point creates 10% less CO2 emissions than having the order delivered to your home. But it then depends on the consumer's mode of transportation whether delivering to a pickup point is actually better for the environment. Home delivery costs an average of 100 grams of CO2 emissions. An average gasoline-powered passenger car emits more with 1 km of driving, namely 204 grams of CO2 on average. Ten Ham: "So having an online order delivered to your home often causes less CO2 emissions than driving your own car to the pickup point. TNO research shows that 33% of packages delivered to a pickup point are picked up by car. Our advice: pick up your package from a collection point on foot or by bike. If that doesn't work for some reason, prefer to have the package delivered to your home."

Sector wants further reduction in CO2 emissions
The e-commerce sector has the ambition to reduce CO2 emissions in the last mile by 90% in 2030 compared to 2018. Ten Ham: "This study shows that only a relatively small proportion of all packages in the last mile are delivered without CO2 emissions: for example, by a bus running on green electricity or by bicycle. So there is still some profit to be made here. We are also looking at transport before the last mile: we are striving for more efficiency through smart data use and the use of more sustainable fuel. We also advise webshops to communicate clearly to consumers about making more sustainable delivery choices. Earlier research showed that consumers in the checkout of the web store can be well encouraged to choose a more sustainable delivery option."

View the report (pdf)

Read more: here.

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