Sustainability: how are e-tailers rising to the challenge?Partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the e-commerce sector in France saw unprecedented growth in 2021, bringing in a record 129 billion euros in revenue. Available on all digital devices, shopping websites and apps received a lot of traffic that year, with Amazon in the lead. Even though Amazon ranked at the higher end of carbon dioxide emissions of the leading 100 e-commerce sites, other platforms such as Hotels.fr or LeroyMerlin.fr were emission-friendlier.
Generally speaking, the most environmentally damaging elements of online shopping activities are energy consumption and road transport associated with last mile delivery. In fact, the transportation sector accounted for the highest share of carbon dioxide emissions in France in 2021. Short-distance shipments are generally the most polluting, as home delivery is bound to involve road transport. In response to this problem, greener shipping solutions are being implemented, such as using cargo bike delivery or parcel pickup points, the latter being the preferred delivery method for almost 60 percent of French online shoppers.
Consumers are rule-changers: the emergence of recommerceWhile the packaging needed to transport parcels is also at the heart of the debate, new circular economy models are helping to extend the life of products. Rental and reconditioning marketplaces and second-hand platforms such as Vinted have multiplied over the years and are forecast to continue expanding. Leboncoin.fr, a popular site for buying and selling pre-owned items, registered more than 142 million desktop-only website visits mid-2022, making it the most visited recommerce marketplace in France.
Acting against major shopping events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or the French days, the Green Friday movement was born in reaction to what were considered over-consumerist events having devastating effects on the environment. Instead of buying new products, nearly half of French e-shoppers reported buying refurbished or secondhand items online for environmental reasons in 2022.