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Eco-friendly credentials of e-commerce analysed

23 March 2011 - 10:53 by Simon Crisp

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A new study has looked at the way in which consumers perceive online shopping, focusing on whether or not people think it is more environmentally friendly to buy goods from e-commerce sites than to head out to the high street themselves.

IMRG has published the findings of a recent survey as part of Climate Week 2011, in which it states that almost 73 per cent of people are convinced that safe shopping online is better for the planet than high street shopping.

Over 1300 people were questioned as part of the survey and the number of people who have been turned on to e-commerce has risen by a quarter compared to a similar study conducted in 2010.

Close to 65 per cent of respondents said that they would go for the eco-friendly shopping option when given a choice, although if this came at extra cost, they would only want to pay out £10 a year for the greenest retail solution.

Studies have shown that by shopping online and getting a product delivered to your home, you will ultimately be contributing less to your carbon footprint than if you hopped in your car and went to a shopping centre to buy the same item.

By 2012, it is thought that sales made via safe shopping online will account for 20 per cent of the UK's total retail market. By combining multiple shopping deliveries into a single van trip, it is easy to see why the greener side of e-commerce is being supported by both experts and consumers.

Professor Alan McKinnon, said that while the benefits of buying products online portrays e-commerce firms in a good light, it would be unwise for internet retailers to do nothing about reducing the carbon cost of distribution and delivery of their goods.