Half of all CO2 emissions in e-commerce deliveries attributed to 'the last mile': Report

New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) The last-mile emissions of the six largest global delivery and e-commerce companies alone amount to approximately 4.5 mega tonnes of CO2, a report released on Wednesday said.
 
Half of all CO2 emissions in e-commerce deliveries attributed to 'the last mile': Report

New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) The last-mile emissions of the six largest global delivery and e-commerce companies alone amount to approximately 4.5 mega tonnes of CO2, a report released on Wednesday said.

Commitments from these companies are far less than what is required to achieve zero-emission deliveries, it added.

The report also finds that the last mile CO2 emissions in India are at least half of all overall emissions from e-commerce deliveries and at the same time, praises India's homegrown brand Flipkart for its commitment to transition their last mile fleets to electric vehicles (EV) by 2030.

"The figure of 4.5 mega tonnes of CO2 is expected to rise exponentially in the coming years. This is roughly equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions from 1 million petrol passenger vehicles," according to the new research conducted by Stand.earth Research Group and commissioned by the Clean Mobility Collective.

The report highlights the top six companies in terms of overall emissions: UPS, FedEx, Amazon Logistics (Amazon's logistics and courier division), DPD (Strategic partner & significant minority stakeholder of DTDC India), eKart (Flipkart's courier division), and DHL eCommerce Solutions (courier division of Deutsche Post DHL Group).

Stating that the commitments from them are not just lagging but also lack transparency, lead author Greg Higgs of Stand.earth Research Group said, "We researched 90 courier companies across Europe, India, and North America. None of them are open about their last-mile emissions."

The report does not offer any explanation as to why only India was selected with developed countries.

The researchers discovered that the top six polluters account for more than two-thirds of total CO2 emissions in their database of parent companies. "Furthermore, because these six companies are primarily responsible for subcontracting delivery services to many of the remaining companies, their negative impact on the environment and public health is likely to be even greater," Higgs added.

Pointing out that much of the research on emissions and delivery is around particulate emissions and their subsequent health impacts rather than CO2 and hence, difficult to derive accurate greenhouse gases emissions conversion factors for India compared to obtaining such factors for Europe, the researchers said they did derive an emissions factor for India using data from a variety of sources.

"The relevance of last mile as expressed by our calculations for India are roughly in line with CO2 emissions figures for Europe. Our intermediate figures for India are an estimated 285 gCO2 per parcel and 51 per cent share of total delivery emissions versus an estimated 194 gCO2 and 53 per cent respectively for Europe. (Thus) strongly suggesting that last mile delivery constitutes a significant share of delivery emissions around the globe," the report said.

The report extrapolated published figures for parcels delivered in US, Germany, India, France, and Italy and extrapolated for the EU as a whole. In India, the total number of parcels was multiplied by the share attributable to the largest cities and extrapolating according to the population. "Five Indian cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Chennai - emit more CO2 from last-mile delivery than the last mile emissions of entire countries such as France and Canada," it said.

Flipkart, with its commitment to transition their last mile fleets to EV by 2030, has articulated the ambition wherein along with committing to Climate Group's EV100 target of 100 per cent EV fleets by 2030, it has also committed to achieve net zero across operations by 2040, the report acknowledged.

"The short trips that millions of delivery vehicles take every day have a disproportionate impact on pollution, smog, air quality, and, ultimately, our health as well as our ability to achieve a zero-emission future. It is critical that businesses collaborate with our governments to come clean about their emissions and commit to clear, time-bound plans to reduce them," said Siddharth Sreenivas, Clean Mobility Collective India Coordinator.

--IANS

niv/shb