REPORT - Carbon Auditing the Last Mile


J.B.Edwards, A.C.McKinnon and S.L.Cullinane

The research compared the carbon footprints of online and conventional shopping for small goods, and focused on the final stage in the delivery process. It was found that a typical van-based home delivery produced 181g CO2, compared with 4,274g CO2 for an average trip to the shops by car.  An average bus trip by a shopper produced 1,265gCO2.  In other words, when a customer drives to the shops and buys fewer than 24 small, non-food items per trip or travels by bus and buys fewer than 7 items, home delivery is more environmentally-friendly. 

The critical factors in the calculation are the number of items purchased per shopping trip, the choice of travel mode, the probability of the consumer being at home to receive the goods and the way in which unwanted goods are returned.  The figures quoted above make no allowance for failed home delivery or the return of unwanted products, though these complications are addressed in the report.

To download the report, please click here.



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