The growth of online retailing: a review of its carbon impacts

P. van Loon, A. C. McKinnon, L. Deketele, J. Dewaele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper examines the carbon impact of online retailing and compares it with that of conventional retailing. It discusses the effect of varying the scope of the calculation,the system boundaries and the underlying assumptions. While most of the carbon emissions come from the last-mile delivery, this is also the activity whose carbon intensity is most sensitive to assumptions made about consumer behavior. On the basis of an extensive literature review, the paper also explores the carbon impacts of the upstream supply chain, energy use in information and communication technology and several aspects of travel behavior. This should help researchers to make wider and more realistic assessments of the environmental impact of online retailing. On the basis of these assessments, one can test the conditions under which online shopping is likely to have a lower carbon footprint.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-292
Number of pages8
JournalCarbon Management
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • online retailing
  • carbon footprint
  • home delivery
  • e-commerce
  • SUPPLY CHAINS
  • E-COMMERCE
  • ENVIRONMENTAL-IMPACT
  • ELECTRONIC COMMERCE
  • LOGISTICS
  • EFFICIENCY
  • TRANSPORT
  • SYSTEMS
  • ENERGY
  • TRAVEL

Cite this

van Loon, P., McKinnon, A. C., Deketele, L., & Dewaele, J. (2014). The growth of online retailing: a review of its carbon impacts. Carbon Management, 5(3), 285-292. https://doi.org/10.1080/17583004.2014.982395