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Environmental benefits of online shopping discussed

30 December 2010 - 11:11 by Graham Miller

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Further research into the effects of buying goods via safe shopping online, rather than the high street, has identified that there is the potential for lowering your carbon footprint when you use e-commerce sites.

A study overseen by Dr Kyo Suh at a US university, has concluded that while there are many variables involved, it is not misleading to make the claim that buying online will be better for the environment than heading out into town or to the local supermarket, to pick up goods as an individual.

Those who can significantly reduce the overall impact of retail on the environment are those who live in urban areas because couriers and delivery services will be operating more efficiently if they have a greater load, thus making more stops within each square mile and cutting down on the relative carbon footprint of every delivered item.

Glenn Croston, who literally wrote the book on greener ways to shop, explained that it was in the interests of the delivery firms to make their fuel consumption and fleet management as efficient as possible, not just with environmental motivations but also from a financial point of view.

Mr Croston went on to identify the fact that large scale sites which offer safe shopping online, can invest in products and packaging which are greener and offer a greater degree of sustainability, when compared to their high street rivals.

Research suggests that up to one and a half billion kilograms of carbon emissions could be cut if people replaced a couple of family trips to their local shopping mall with web purchases. In the UK, there are already millions of people who are indirectly benefitting the environment, by carrying out online shopping, as attested to by the recent record-breaking Christmas sales.