A new report by Prologis Research reveals that e-commerce is better for the environment than individual trips to traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

The paper, titled “Logistics Real Estate and E-Commerce Lower the Carbon Footprint of Retail,” lays out the facts behind the environmental benefits of online shopping, based on a recently released study by the MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab.

Of note, e-commerce set records during the 2020 holiday season, and package deliveries are forecast to grow by 80% over the next decade. Driven by the pandemic-induced stay-at-home economy, online sales not only surged but stayed at peak levels in 2020.

Key takeaways from the paper include the following:

  • Carbon emissions from online shopping are on average 36% lower than emissions produced by in-store trips.
  • Built-out logistics networks, which include urban fulfilment centers located near end consumers, can reduce transportation-related emissions by 50% and reduce the carbon footprint per package by about 10%.
  • In the case of direct-to-home delivery, a full standard delivery van can replace more than 100 individual car trips.

Read the full paper

Read the MIT study

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