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Online distribution: what impact on the planet?

Distribution en ligne : quels impacts sur la planète ?

Shopping on the Internet has become commonplace for a large majority of French people. If this sales channel is synonymous with convenience, it also has negative consequences on the environment. In a recent study, the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME) highlighted the effects of French e-commerce on nature.

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According to the ADEME, online shopping represents 14% of the retail trade in France.
Two million French people make online purchases (80% of French people aged 11 and over), for one transaction per person per week (products and services combined).
This is equivalent to one billion parcels per year.
“The greenhouse gas emissions corresponding to this level of activity would be of the order of one million tons of CO2”, says the ADEME.

Advantages and drawbacks

Internet commerce has certain positive aspects for the environment, such as the absence of a store (energy savings) and the sharing of delivery routes.
But there are also negative points, such as the over-packaging of parcels and consumer returns.

Areas for improvement

The study conducted by ADEME has listed the points on which retailers can work to limit their carbon footprint.
These include:
• Reducing the percentage of empty space (estimated at 50%) by better matching the container to the content in order to reduce the volume of packages and the amount of packaging produced
• Eliminating overpackaging when supplier packaging allows
• Stop comparing delivery times according to the delivery method (because the consumer does not necessarily choose the “greenest” option) …

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