Reduce Environmental Impact, New Challenge for E-Commerce

Concepts such as sustainability or circular economy have been introduced in the usual vocabulary of companies in recent times.

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Concepts such as sustainability or circular economy have been introduced in the usual vocabulary of companies in recent times. Although some suggest that it is a mere question of reputation, the COTEC Foundation ensures that the introduction of these socially and environmentally responsible forms of action also has economic benefits in e-commerce that must be taken advantage of.

Thus, the report “Situation and evolution of the circular economy” of this foundation concludes that the European Union is facing the opportunity to build a “more resilient and adaptable economic system”. In the same way, the European Commission quantifies this opportunity in the creation of more than 400,000 jobs in the EU.

The e-Commerce before the sustainable economy

 Electronic commerce is one of the sectors best positioned to take on the concepts of the circular economy, which aims to minimize the environmental impact of the production and distribution of products and to extend their useful life. First, because online stores generate a much lower environmental impact than physical stores and because only one of their processes, the last mile, occurs outside of the digital environment.

Precisely, the optimization of urban logistics is the main front of improvement that is presented to e-Commerce and is a matter to which both public administrations and companies in the sector are paying special attention. In fact, this topic has centered the last eDelivery Barcelona Congress, in which the role of Big Data and the tracking of orders to change the distribution model forever has been analyzed.

One of the most important issues is how urban logistics should respond to two phenomena that test its effectiveness, the periods of great influx of purchases, such as Black Friday, and the protocols of high pollution, which require adapting routes of distribution. In both cases, adaptation and investment in innovation are the keys for which the sector is committed to continue reducing its impact and improving the customer experience.

Ecodesign parcel

 Beyond the optimization of routes and means of delivery, another key point for the reduction of the environmental impact of e-Commerce and the implementation of digital ecology is sustainable packaging. Within this trend is the collaboration agreement between the Public Company of Environmental Management of the Basque Government, the company Ecoembes and the Association of Manufacturers and Distributors of Large Consumption, which seeks to reduce and make more ecological the packaging of online orders.

This pact between the public and private sectors will seek to define recommendations for the sector that indicate the specifications of efficiency and sustainability that the packages must meet. For this, they will try to balance the environmental factors with those of quality and economic cost, which will allow in the medium term to face the growing implementation of e-Commerce.