The growth of e-commerce has been accompanied by concerns about its environmental sustainability compared to that of bricks-and-mortar offline shopping. The media often considers e-commerce to be less sustainable despite the lack of conclusive studies to support this viewpoint. There are a few quantitative studies available in the literature that demonstrate that the differences in overall emissions strongly depend on the type of industry and the boundaries considered. This study applies an activity-based approach to assess the environmental impacts (in terms of kgCO2e) of the online and offline purchasing processes in the grocery industry for all shopping phases: replenishment, pre-sale and sale, picking and assembly, delivery and post-sale. The assessment model was applied in Italy, where e-grocery has experienced significant annual growth. Overall, the results indicate that e-grocery is potentially more sustainable than bricks-and-mortar shopping, with emissions ranging from 10%–30% lower, depending on the specific context.

E-grocery: comparing the environmental impacts of the online and offline purchasing processes

Siragusa C.;Tumino A.
2022-01-01

Abstract

The growth of e-commerce has been accompanied by concerns about its environmental sustainability compared to that of bricks-and-mortar offline shopping. The media often considers e-commerce to be less sustainable despite the lack of conclusive studies to support this viewpoint. There are a few quantitative studies available in the literature that demonstrate that the differences in overall emissions strongly depend on the type of industry and the boundaries considered. This study applies an activity-based approach to assess the environmental impacts (in terms of kgCO2e) of the online and offline purchasing processes in the grocery industry for all shopping phases: replenishment, pre-sale and sale, picking and assembly, delivery and post-sale. The assessment model was applied in Italy, where e-grocery has experienced significant annual growth. Overall, the results indicate that e-grocery is potentially more sustainable than bricks-and-mortar shopping, with emissions ranging from 10%–30% lower, depending on the specific context.
2022
e-commerce
E-grocery
environmental impact
last-mile delivery
logistics
sustainability
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1209062
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