Revealing the secret emissions of e-commerce

In 2021, e-commerce accounted for nearly 20% of retail sales worldwide. Forecasts indicate that by 2025, online sales will make up close to a quarter of total global retail sales.

As online sales grow, so too do the packages, delivery drivers and delivery vehicles needed to get them to their destination. And with that comes pollution, carbon emissions and unsustainable fossil fuel-powered fleets in their millions.

Until now, very little was known about this part of the e-commerce chain – the stage commonly known as ‘last-mile’ delivery. The term refers to the final stage in a parcel’s journey from distribution depot to doorstep, although this is not necessarily a journey of a mile. The last-mile accounts for up to half of all delivery vehicle CO2 emissions. These short journeys that millions of delivery vans are making every single day are having a disproportionate effect on pollution, smog, air quality and ultimately our ability to achieve a zero emission future.