I’ve been thinking a lot about how goods are moved from one place to another lately. How much of our online shopping habit is contributing to the ever growing concern over greenhouse gas emissions from transport? This train of thought led to me think about the bigger picture, the world is changing; social media, innovation, technology and convenience are becoming the norm when it comes to how we spend our money and how we receive our goods. Growth in the online shopping sector is exponential. So whilst we argue about climate change, plastic pollution and fast fashion, what are companies doing to reduce their and our impact on the environment?
This opened up an array of ideas, but given that we are fast approaching a holiday season that sees the most amount of gifts being purchased with deliveries taking place almost 24 hours a day, I decided to focus on eco-friendly delivery services. Do they exist? I decided to do a little bit of research and find out who’s offering green delivery options.
The good news, if you live in central London, chances are, you will receive your parcels in an electric vehicle. The bad news, this option is virtually non-existent outside London and other major cities. I won’t be delving into why green delivery options are not offered outside major cities as that is a blog for another day. I did find out that companies such as ParcelForce, Royal Mail, DPD and UPS have started making changes to their services. They are either in the process of trialling electric vehicles or then they’ve already started making your delivery in an electric vehicle in central London.
Green Courier, a London based logistics company, have invested in a fleet of eco-friendly vehicles. Their logistics service, business to business, seems to extend outside London. According to their website, Green Courier provide a haulage service across the UK, which sounds promising.
With regards to direct deliveries, retailer to customers, I could not find much information. If I did, then it was only by digging deeper. ASOS, for example, have recognised that 69% of their total emissions are as a result of customer deliveries and returns. Investing in electric vehicles to drastically reduce this figure is a commitment they have made for deliveries around central London. M&S have been working on carbon neutrality programs for over a decade, but it is not information that is easily detectable on their website. IKEA have pledged to commence home deliveries using zero emission vehicles in 5 major cities, Amsterdam, New York, Paris, Los Angeles and Shanghai by 2020. Having said that, London does not make it into the initial plan.
The list of businesses leading on transport based carbon reduction initiatives goes on, but surprisingly, they do not seem to advertise their positive environmental impacts on customer facing web pages. A lot of the good that retailers are doing is hidden away in a corporate report. My question to them is why? Social and sustainable responsibility initiatives are just as important to customers today as are other projects. These should be celebrated not hidden away.
Reading through days and days of research, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you live in central London, then you are more likely to receive your deliveries in an energy efficient vehicle this Christmas. If you live outside of London, then chances are that some of it may be carbon neutral, not all.
On a positive note, there is a shift in how major retailers are viewing their commitments to the environment. For those of us living outside London, a change today in London deliveries means that we will eventually receive the same service wherever we are in the UK.
A few questions to think about. Would you pay more if you were given the choice of receiving your parcels in an eco-friendly vehicle? Do you know of companies offering green delivery services? Would you start or amend your existing business to offer eco-friendly delivery services outside London? There clearly is a gap in the market, why not take it up?