Subcontracting out the report reading

A Tim but not this Tim writes:

A report last week was covered across the press about the environmental benefits of Internet Shopping and working from home:-

Working from home and shopping online could create more carbon emissions than travelling to the office or a store, a study has found.

Consumers who buy online must order more than 25 items from one retailer, otherwise the impact on the environment is likely to be worse than traditional shopping, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) revealed.

The press release on the  IET\’s website says the following:-

Shopping on the internet or working from home could be increasing carbon emissions rather than helping to reduce them, a new report claims today.

The research reveals that people who shop online must order more than 25 items otherwise the impact on the environment is likely to be worse than traditional shopping.

What the actual report that they wrote that the press release refers to says is:-

Buying goods online has been found to provide carbon savings, but only if the conditions are right. A study found that environmental savings can be achieved if online shopping replaces 3.5 shopping trips, if 25 orders are delivered at the same time or if travel distance is longer than 50km.

It doesn\’t mean that you have to order 25 items, it just means that the delivery van has to have 25 items. Which is a completely different thing as delivery companies combine at least that number into one trip. How many DVDs could you fit into a Transit? Unless you\’ve phoned DHL to order a courier, your online shopping is going to be amongst 25 items.
So, hurrah! Carry on as you were. You\’re not only getting that DVD cheaply without stirring yourself from your sofa, you\’re also keeping Gaia from getting boiled.

5 thoughts on “Subcontracting out the report reading”

  1. What about delivery of goods from warehouse to shop ? Surely that’s a massive saving in carbon emissions as online comes direct from warehouse ?

  2. Saving, but not a massive one: at least in the UK, retail supply chains are extremely carbon-efficient (because fuel’s expensive and retailers are profit maximising). You’ll have a very big truck that’s very full of things going from warehouse to store.

  3. “You’ll have a very big truck that’s very full of things going from warehouse to store.”

    And back again, empty.

    Nevertheless, it’s something that doesn’t happen when you go online. It’s not a case of the delivery van replacing your visit to the shop, it replaces the big truck to the shop too.

    If you think ferrying things by “big truck” instead of “little van” is intended to save fuel, you are mistaken, the saving comes from employing less people not fuel.

  4. “Ian – most online grocery deliveries in the UK happen from store-to-consumer. And the saving comes from both.”

    The “store” being a effectively a huge out of town warehouse you have to lay down a blanket of carbon getting to if you didn’t go online ?

    The report covers all aspects, there is no shop is there ?

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