HomeTechnologyCarbon levelling can encourage eco-friendly e-commerce

Carbon levelling can encourage eco-friendly e-commerce

Electronic commerce has provided us with the power of buying almost anything from anywhere around the world with a click. The impact of e-commerce has certainly been realised when we see online shopping platforms such as Amazon and Shopee have become household names.

But there are some inconveniences in the growth of e-commerce on environment. For shipping a product over long distances can lead to carbon emissions in a significant amount which has its impacts over the ongoing climate crisis.

But the question is, how online retailers can make its consumers to make more environment-friendly shopping decisions as they are offering different shipping options to reduce the carbon emission.

Singapore University of Technology and Design researchers have found out an answer to this question. The researchers found out that by adding carbon emission information on different shipping options retailers will give their customers to choose the option associated with lower emissions.

The researchers have especially examined the cross-border e-commerce Chinese online shopping platform Taobao.

The researchers analysed each mode of transport and their rate of carbon emission offered by Taobao. Taobao delivers its parcels via air or sea freight. This platform offers the buyer to choose to consolidate the orders into a single delivery.

The researchers calculated the mode of transportation, distance travelled and weight of purchased items to find out the carbon emission in kilograms.

In their calculation, the researchers found out sea freight is the least carbon-intensive option. Consolidating multiple orders into one parcel will also cause lower carbon emission.

The researchers have done a survey on 188 adult Singapore residents who were making a cross-border e-commerce purchase. 44% people sticked to faster shipping option for their high-value orders but 56% people switched to the option that will cause lower carbon emissions, though it will delay their order.

But there are also some drawbacks as researchers think the retailers may not promote carbon labels in their shipping process as it might discourage sales.


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