UK’s top retailers failing to offer sustainable delivery and returns

Major UK retailers are failing when it comes to offering basic sustainable options for customers in the delivery process, according to a new report from parcelLab.

The research reveals that 96% of major online retailers do not offer the option of carbon neutral delivery.

A further 98% fail to provide the option of reduced or non-branded packaging at the checkout.

Despite recent research showing that strong sustainability commitments would lead 26% of consumers to opt for one brand over another, brands are still failing to live up to the environmental commitments they themselves have set.

As it stands, four out of five retailers fail to provide any sustainability information in their communication with customers.

The report also highlights that there has been limited progress in making the returns process more environmentally friendly.

READ MORE: ‘Ditch next-day delivery’ and four other ways ecommerce businesses can become more sustainable

Some 76% of retailers continue to offer free returns. According to parcelLab, 58% of consumers are likely to opt for one brand over another if they offer free shipping and returns.

However, 87% of retailers fail to promote the option of paperless returns, a significant fall from the 46% found to provide this option in the study last year.

In addition, many brands that did provide paperless returns fail to promote this on their website.

“The renewed UN Fashion Charter and the targets brands themselves have set are far from unachievable,” parcelLab founder and chief executive Tobias Buxhoidt said.

“All it will take is a concerted effort to fight the narrative of misalignment between business and sustainability.

“Our data clearly shows that consumers do care about sustainability, and this does have a significant baring in their choice of retailer.

“Brands that ignore this are missing a trick in not doing the basics: offering carbon neutral delivery, paperless returns and sufficient information which will empower the consumer to make environmentally friendly choices throughout the delivery and order process.”

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