Germans do not believe in sustainable online retailing

nachhaltiger E-Commerce
Mit dem steigenden Interesse am Online-Handel nimmt auch das Aufommen an Verpackungsmüll zu.

Mail order packaging in the focus of respondents

A Germany-wide online survey of 2,084 consumers, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Box Inc, concludes that

  • 46% of respondents believe online retail is not sustainable and

  • 44% rate stationary retailing more sustainable than online retailing.

  • Only 13% think ordering online is more environmentally friendly than buying in a retail store.

Respondents are particularly critical of shipping methods for online orders and returns that require additional shipping: The majority of them believe shipping and returns are what make online business unsustainable.

59 % of consumers believe that environmentally friendly transporters are the key to more sustainable deliveries. They also have different ideas about how to reduce the rate of returns: 29 % of respondents said they would return retail products less often if they had to pay for returns.

But is stationary retail really more environmentally friendly than online retail?

Oliver Wyman conducted a Europe-wide study to investigate just that. The results showed that e-commerce has a better climate footprint than is often assumed. In terms of CO2 emissions per item sold across the entire supply chain , it performed better by a factor of 1.5 to 2.9 on average. The main reasons for this are the energy consumption of the buildings and the distance customers have to travel to get there. In large cities, online retail accounts for around 0.5% of traffic - whereas stationary retail accounts for 11%!

These results thus represent a discrepancy between facts and the perception of the respondents!

Need for optimization in online retailing

Nevertheless, e-commerce can be further optimized and has great potential for improvement, especially in terms of environmental sustainability .

The survey by YouGov also investigated which measures could contribute to an improvement in the environmental balance in the view of the participants. The majority counted the optimization of transport and returns and the use of sustainable and recyclable packaging among these!!

68% of respondents believe that plastic packaging has the greatest negative impact on sustainability in e-commerce!

The contradictory results therefore make it clear that, in addition to the measures to be taken, communication also plays a central role.




Oliver Wyman



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kompackt61 is a manufacturer of high quality and high performance sustainable insulating jute packaging as an environmentally friendly alternative to polystyrene.