According to Statista, the greatest share of 45% of greenhouse gas emissions from e-commerce comes from the packaging of goods. MIT’s study shows that eCommerce or online shopping carbon emissions are 36% lower than in-store shopping.The fact still remains that eCommerce is still a contributor to carbon emissions.
The Carbon Footprints of eCommerce
Global e-commerce continues to rise. In 2020, global e-retail sales grew by 27.6%, representing 18% of all retail sales. Although it’s deemed better than physical shopping, eCommerce growth increases the percentage of carbon emissions to our environment. For most businesses, including eCommerce businesses, the main carbon emissions drivers are primarily in Scope 3, combined with a few scope 1 and scope 2 emissions.
Scope 1 Emissions
Scope 1 emissions form 7.8% of the total eCommerce greenhouse emissions. These are emissions directly from controlled or owned sources of eCommerce businesses. Examples are:
- Fuel combustion
- Fugitive emissions
- Company vehicles used in transportation
Scope 2 Emissions
Scope 2 are indirect emissions and account for 7.1% of total eCommerce emissions. These are purchased or indirectly owned items within the business. Examples are:
- Purchased electricity
- Heating and cooling systems
Scope 3 Emissions
Scope 3 emissions account for 81.5%. They include all indirect greenhouse gas emissions occurring in an e-commerce value chain. This is why scope 3 emissions may sometimes be called value chain emissions.
The value chain includes activities from assets/materials not controlled or owned by the business but which it uses to achieve its goals. The scope 3 emissions are sources not within the businesses’ scopes 1 and 2 boundaries but dominate the eCommerce carbon footprint. They include:
- Business travel
- Purchased goods and services
- Employee commuting
- Digital devices
- Waste disposal
- Use of old products
- Distribution and transportation of products (up- and downstream)
- Leased assets and franchises
The biggest scope 3 emission driver for most businesses is transport-related emissions and packaging.
Why Organizations Should Measure their Scope 3 Emissions
As an eCommerce business, you can make use of this carbon footprint calculator to measure your scope three emissions and your entire carbon footprint. Measuring Scope 3 emissions is important for many reasons.
- Assess your emission hotspots in the supply chain.
- Identify your energy and resource risks in the supply chain.
- Identify your energy efficiency and energy cost reduction opportunities.
- Help suppliers improve their product’s energy efficiency.
- Engage employees in emission reduction by reducing business travel, employee commuting, and other emission risks.
How Can E-Commerce Reduce Emissions Impact?
There are various ways eCommerce can reduce emissions. Some of them include the following.
- Gain carbon transparency through carbon footprint calculation and identify their biggest emission drivers, then act on them.
- Use climate-friendly shipping solutions.
- Reduce packaging and make required packages more sustainable. Packaging is the largest contributor to eCommerce carbon emissions. A reduction in packaging and making the mandatory ones more sustainable can help reduce a company’s carbon footprint.
As eCommerce continues to grow, it needs to be more green and sustainable. To undertake a holistic eCommerce green strategy, consider the entire business energy risk and product life cycle: packaging, design, logistics, distribution, and end-of-life management. Knowing your carbon footprint percentage can help you reduce your emissions.short url: