Consumerism

UK: Online delivery emissions set to soar on Black Friday and these companies are responsible

Photo credit: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press.

By Anders Lorenzen

The dark day of consumerism, otherwise known as Black Friday in which people hit the shops en masse as brands launch bombardments of discount campaigns, continues to grow in popularity, and despite this year’s pandemic – it is expected to be no different than what usual including its dire consequences for the environment.

An emissions delivery

According to research by experts at money.co.uk, the Dirty Delivery Report states that amongst delivery companies, Hermes is expected to lead the way on Black Friday when it comes to producing the most emissions.  They’re expected to be responsible for a total of 58,313 tons of CO2 emissions on the day, closely followed by DPD, the Royal Mail, Yodel and City Sprint. 

The research found that, in total, online deliveries are expected to release 429,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere on Black Friday. 

How green are delivery companies?

The report analysed the environmental credentials of the UK’s top delivery firms, the number of packages they’re predicted to deliver and the carbon footprint of each delivery. It found that sales this Black Friday are expected to increase by at least 14% compared to last year.

Royal Mail was found to be the most carbon-conscious delivery company amongst the 13 delivery companies included in the report, scoring a rating of 54.5 out of 60. The company has a network of 90,000 postal workers and has reduced emissions by 29% since 2005 and has invested in a 295 strong fleet of electric vehicles (EV). 

The world’s largest online shop, Amazon, takes the top spot for the number of click and collect parcel locations in the UK at around 16,000. Click and collect locations prevent numerous home deliveries and therefore reduce emissions and also drive custom into local independent shops and as a result, invests in the local economy. Amazon has also invested heavily in EVs having added 1,800 electric Mercedes-Benz vehicles to their European fleet this year.

Consumers could be more climate-friendly 

The report also found that, despite the huge public focus on the climate crisis, just one in ten shoppers consider the environmental impact of their online purchases and one in three does not even go for the most efficient delivery method as they opt for next day delivery. It detailed that there is not a huge appetite for carbon-friendly delivery options amongst shoppers as only 11.7% factored it into their online shopping decisions. In addition, 72% admit preferring retailers who offer free delivery which is the least friendly delivery option. 20% said they refuse to pay extra to offset carbon generation by their purchase, compared to 17%  who would be happy to pay up to £2 for a more climate-friendly delivery option. And if you’re between 16-24 years old you’re at 16% twice as likely to opt for a green delivery option than if you’re in the 55+ age group where the appetite is only at 8%.

About the report, Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, said: “With almost a third of consumers (32%) stating that they would be more likely to shop with a retailer if they offered a green or eco-friendly option, it is clear there is some appetite for more environmentally conscious delivery methods. Despite this, our research found that 20% of shoppers did not want to pay to offset the environmental impact of their online purchases and a further 42% admitted to not feeling any environmental guilt when purchasing items online.”

Black Friday takes place on the 27th of November. 

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