The Environmental Impact of E-commerce : A comparative analysis of CO2e emissions in e-commerce and traditional retailing
Sammanfattning: Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the environmental impact of e-commerce, considering the effects on CO2e emissions from transportation and implications on product packaging. Method: The research approach used in the study is an exploratory single case study design. The research questions were answered by using both qualitative and quantitative methods and the data collection methods used were interviews and document analyses in combination with a literature review. Findings: The study shows that there is no straightforward answer to whether e-commerce is a better option environmentally speaking or not since it very much depends on the context and circumstances. Regarding transportation, e-commerce and especially home delivery, emitted least CO2e emissions. It was also shown that electric cars were the most environmentally friendly option considering consumer trips. Regarding packaging, it was shown that e-commerce resulted in larger packages and thus more CO2e emissions and waste. Originality: The study contributes to an understanding of the environmental implications of e-commerce, and therefore, it can support companies in their progress toward becoming a more sustainable business. Limitations/delimitations: The study is limited to one case company and focuses on domestic deliveries within Sweden. Returns of products will not be included in any calculations. Emissions resulting from producing more packaging material, or the transportation of packaging material before usage, are not considered. Theoretical implications: The study contributes to existing research within the area since it covers a different context by studying a manufacturer and adds a new perspective by considering different fuels for consumer trips in the calculations. Managerial implications: Based on the result of the study practical suggestions for companies to reduce their environmental impact are presented, for example, implement a standard packaging procedure and outsource logistics activities to 3PL companies.
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