5 WAYS RETAILERS AND CARRIERS CAN REDUCE THEIR CARBON FOOTPRINT
Last year, the growth of online shopping to 57 per cent led to a significant increase in delivery vehicles on roads. In fact, Australia’s transport sector is responsible for nearly a fifth of the country’s carbon emissions. Our latest research reveals that 68 per cent of Australians would choose lower-carbon-emitting parcel delivery methods, an emerging consumer behaviour we believe retailers and carriers need to respond to.
Our findings also revealed that young shoppers are shopping consciously: 74 per cent of 18-30-year-olds would choose a low-carbon delivery method, compared with 61 per cent of over-50s.
Two-thirds of consumers would also like retailers to label lower-emitting delivery methods as ‘low carbon’ on their checkout pages, to help them choose the most carbon-friendly option when shopping online.
The eCommerce boom we’ve seen over the last 12 months has delivered unprecedented growth in the industry. Our research shows that Australians are acutely aware of the detrimental impact online shopping can have on the environment and are open to shifting their behaviours as a result. Now, the challenge for carriers and retailers is to cater to these emerging consumer preferences. They also need to ensure they have an environmental strategy in place to manage increased parcel volumes, while reducing their impact on the planet.
Here are 5 tactics to help retailers and carriers be more sustainable and reduce their carbon emissions.
- Offer delivery methods that reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Couriers make multiple trips a day to individual addresses, which can extend parcel delivery routes and increase vehicles on the roads, and thereby emissions. Consider offering alternative delivery choices at checkout, such as delivery to collection points. In this way, couriers can deliver multiple parcels to one location, which are often local stores, including petrol stations, convenience stores, and other independent retail outlets. Couriers can save on petrol costs and reduce congestion and carbon emissions. In fact, recent data shows using collections points can reduce emissions by 0.47kgC02e per kilometre.2
- Bring parcels closer to customers. With more people living in cities, retailers and carriers could leverage ‘micro-fulfilment centres’ in metropolitan areas. These centres can shorten the distance between customers and their online orders, speeding up delivery times and reducing emissions in the process. Retailers with bricks and mortar locations can ship orders directly to customers from local stores, which are often closer to customers, and make use of existing inventory.
- Educate consumers about the impact of certain delivery choices. Same-day and next-day delivery options are becoming more popular for their convenience but can negatively impact the environment. Carriers are often forced to start delivery runs with vehicles that aren’t at full capacity, leading to more trips to depots to collect more orders. While many Aussies want low-carbon deliveries labelled at checkout, retailers should also focus on educating them around methods that can harm the environment too.
- Partner with environmentally conscious carriers. Some carriers are already making changes to minimise their environmental impact. Seek out carriers that are already beginning to reduce their carbon emissions. Some have also committed to becoming carbon neutral, while others have started using electric vehicles across their fleets. A recent study shows electric vehicles powered by renewables produce just 6g of carbon dioxide per kilometre, compared with the 184g per kilometre produced by the average new car.3
- Consider sustainable packaging options. Offering environmentally friendly packaging options, such as recycled or low-carbon packing materials, satchels and boxes, could help attract and retain customers. These customers may feel more confident shopping from retailers that are actively reducing their environmental impact.
David McLean is the founder and CEO of leading agnostic Australian parcel collection point network, Hubbed. David founded Hubbed in 2014, after more than 20 years’ experience in the finance and technology industries, working at organisations including Microsoft, Datacom and UBS. He has since grown Hubbed to a network of 2000-plus Australian locations includes major retail and service station chains that has managed parcels for carriers such as TOLL, Couriers Please, DHL, FedEx, TNT, UPS and Sendle.
 University of Wollongong, 2020 uow.edu.au/media/2020/transport-is-letting-australia-down-in-the-race-to-cut-emissions.php
 Based on a survey commissioned by leading agnostic parcel collection network Hubbed, of 1000 Australians who shopped online at least three times in the last three months