Online retail is leading to a huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions as shorter delivery times drive up the amount of delivery vehicles on the road.
Amazon reportedly emitted 44 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide last year, the equivalent of Denmark, while UPS emitted 14.6 million tonnes.
One of the leading causes of rising emissions is shorter delivery times promised by retailers, with 35 per cent of Amazon packages delivered within one-day last year.
“The delivery companies have no incentive to group them together, or don’t have time to do so while aiming for shorter deadlines, so we’re seeing a proliferation of trips being made,” the University of Washington’s transportation engineer Anne Goodchild said.
Other factors such as repeated delivery attempts and increasing returns are also driving up the volume of journeys, and therefore emissions.
What’s more a report from the AIR Alliance revealed that the best-selling delivery vehicles can be 17 times more polluting than the cleanest alternative.
An additional 19,000 delivery vans are expected to be on the roads over the Christmas period this year, with 65,000 delivery journeys expected to be made in London alone.