Eco-Friendly E-Commerce?

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Given the recent coverage of major online retailers’ blue– and white-collar working conditions, many of us are contemplating the ethical implications of two-day shipping. Sure, it’s convenient, and we all love the immediate gratification of “1-Click” ordering, but at what cost to the environment (and, the workers)? Is there really such a thing as eco-friendly e-commerce?


The MIT Center for Transportation and logistics recently considered the environmental impacts of online shopping. And the results were decidedly mixed. While “online shopping tends to be more efficient than traditional shopping,” consumer behaviors vary significantly. Furthermore, when you consider the “entire buying process, other shopping consumer behaviors that include online shopping steps are not always environmentally better.” So you may want to think twice before purchasing your wares online.


As a side note, the study provides an interesting taxonomy of shoppers. Would you consider yourself more of an “Impulse” traditional shopper or an “e-Informed” shopper? Or maybe you’re more of an “Impatient” Cybernaut?

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