all projects

Impact of e-commerce on CO2 emissions and air pollution

Client

EU Commission, DG GROW

Year

2022

Partner

KE-Consult, Sphera


The assignment

Online commerce has grown strongly over the past ten years. Stationary trade has reacted to this trend and combined both distribution channels in an omnichannel approach. The boom in e-commerce has also had an impact on the transport system and thus on the environmental impact of the sector. The study aims to compare the environmental impacts of online commerce with those of stationary trade.

The EU Commission entrusted a consortium consisting of Prognos, Sphera, and KE-Consult, with the implementation of the study.

Our approach

In a first step, we examined the transport chain of online and stationary retail commerce in order to identify the individual stages in the two supply chains. In the process, the transport routes from the manufacturer to the customers were considered. In a second step, we developed a modelling tool to calculate the environmental impact (CO2 emissions and air pollution) of each transport stage. In the third step, this modelling tool was finally used to calculate the environmental impact using real-life case studies.

Core results

Two transport stages have a strong influence on CO2 emissions and air pollution: Global long-distance transport to the first parcel hub in the EU and transport from the parcel centre to customers (the “last mile”).

There are a number of factors that affect emissions during transport. Amongst other things the study determined:

  • the electrification of road freight transport reduces emissions, albeit not to zero
  • customers also influence emissions through their choice of the means of transport when collecting, purchasing, or returning goods. This offers great potential for savings, for example, if passenger car trips are eliminated
  • a conscious choice of slowing down the supply chain, for example, by eliminating same-day delivery or air freight, can also reduce transport emissions

In addition, five measures were identified that can reduce the environmental impact of the retail transport chain:

  • the use of zero-emission vehicles
  • more pickup points in residential areas
  • conscious consumer decisions
  • an optimised organisation of the deliveries to end customers
  • a shift from air, road, and sea transport to rail

Links and downloads

To the executive summary of the study (EU Commission, PDF in English)

 

Project team: Sven Altenburg, Hans-Paul Kienzler

 

Last update: 17.11.2022

Do you have questions?

Your contact at Prognos

Sven Altenburg

Principal, Head of Mobility & Transport

View profile

Mehr Studien & Projekte zu diesem Thema

More studies & projects on this topic

Alternative transport scenario for Germany

2024
| Project

Environmental organisations have tasked Prognos with adapting selected assumptions from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure transport forecasts to facilitate climate-friendly transport development.

Climate-impacting transformation in the transport sector

ongoing
| Project

The latest geopolitical and economic developments present a challenge for the ecological transi-tion of transport. Prognos develops measures for the BMDV.

Reforming environmentally harmful subsidies

2023
| Project

On behalf of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, we examined the effects of phasing out climate damaging subsidies in the transport and industry sectors.

Innovations for the mobility and space transition in NRW

2023
| Project update

Mobility and spatial planning are key issues for the green economy. For this purpose, in cooperation with Prognos, the Kompetenznetzwerk Umweltwirtschaft.NRW compiled an innovation radar.

Sustainable end-of-life vehicle recycling

2023
| Project

Circular economy in practice: As part of the MaterialLoop project, we have been working with Audi and TSR on how more materials from end-of-life vehicles can be used in the production of new vehicles.

Evaluation and further development of the national Emissions Trading System (nETS)

2022
| Project

On behalf of the Federal Environment Agency, we are developing suitable approaches for the impact assessment of the nETS together with the FÖS and the DIW.

Eleven measures to achieve 2030 climate target

2022
| Project

Germany risks not hitting its 2030 climate objectives. The Forum Ökologisch-Soziale Marktwirtschaft proposes eleven measures. We assessed their impact on climate protection in the transport and building sectors.

Munich’s Logistics Concept

ongoing
| Project

How can logistics transport in Munich be structured more considerately and sustainably? Together with KE Consult and SSP Consult we develop a logistics concept.

ADAC Mobility Index

ongoing
| Project

Transport demand is continuing to rise and there are various causes for this. But how can the consequences be managed and mobility be made sustainable? A science- and data-based as-sessment method.

International potential analysis of hydrogen technology for mobility solutions

2021
| Project

Hydrogen is considered a future source of energy in the transport sector. Prognos determined the framework conditions for hydrogen technologies in important international markets.

About us

Prognos – Providing Orientation.

Prognos is one of the oldest economic research centres in Europe. Founded at the University of Basel, Prognos experts have been conducting research for a wide range of clients from the public and private sectors since 1959 – politically independent, scientifically sound.

Learn more