Digifin22 | News: How online trade contributes to the global climate

How online trade contributes to the global climate

Bundled orders, sustainably produced packaging, planting trees to compensate for CO2 - German retailers are taking a wide variety of measures for more sustainability and climate protection in their online business. For example, 6 out of 10 online retailers (63 percent) bundle orders to reduce delivery distances. More than half (52 percent) use sustainable packaging materials such as reusable shipping bags or boxes. At the same time, 22 percent have at least one of the two measures in planning. This is shown by a representative survey commissioned by the digital association Bitkom among more than 500 retail companies in Germany, including 203 retailers that sell partly or exclusively online. According to the survey, 4 out of 10 online retailers (38 percent) offer a repair service for defective goods. At 35 percent there are selection filters for sustainable products and 32 percent have a take-back service for old appliances that goes beyond the legal regulations. One in five (19 percent) also offers used products.

Many online retailers also offer the option of offsetting the CO2 emissions associated with their purchase. For example, customers can donate to environmental projects or plant trees at one-fifth of online retailers (22 percent), and another 3 in 10 (30 percent) are planning to introduce such an option. An option to offset CO2 emissions generated during delivery for a small extra charge is only offered by one in eleven (9 per cent), but one in four (25 per cent) already plan to introduce such an option.

"During the COVID pandemic, online retail has grown strongly. In order to keep the environmental impact of online business as low as possible, retailers are increasingly focusing on sustainability," says Bitkom CEO Dr Bernhard Rohleder. "With the help of digital technologies, retailers can avoid returns and empty runs and reduce packaging material. Climate protection and digitalisation are not mutually exclusive, they also complement each other perfectly in online retail." Retailers have recognised the importance of the interplay. For example, 43 per cent of retailers with online business say that digital technologies can reduce the carbon footprint of goods.

Find out more about this survey here.