Wednesday, March 18, 2009

U.K. scientists agree: E-commerce is better for the environment

Arriving at a similar conclusion as U.S. researchers in a recent study, U.K. scientists say on average a purchase of an item online for delivery to the consumer’s home generates less of the carbon dioxide associated with global warming than shopping in a store. But there are qualifications.

The new report says the typical e-commerce purchase sent to a home generates 181 grams of carbon dioxide, compared with 4,274 grams, or nearly 24 times as much, for an average shopping trip by car. Thus, they conclude that online shopping is better for the environment—unless the store shopper buys at least 24 items. They also note that a trip to the store by bus only produces 1,265 grams of carbon dioxide, which would reduce the number of items that would have to be bought to make that shopping method more environmentally friendly than e-commerce.

The study entitled “Carbon Auditing the ‘Last Mile’: Modelling the Environmental Impacts of Conventional and Online Non-food Shopping,” was written by J.B. Edwards, A.C. McKinnon and S.L. Cullinane of the Logistics Research Centre at the School of Management and Languages of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. - Daily News for Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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