Every single parcel we buy online needs to be delivered. And that is costing the planet and our health.
November 25, 2022
Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year, but the scale of e-commerce deliveries is ratcheting up carbon emissions at a time when emissions need to be drastically reduced.
A 2022 e-commerce report issued by the Clean Mobility Collective and Stand.earth revealed that the global carbon emissions of last mile delivery account for up to half of total delivery carbon emissions. The report named Amazon–which promotes Cyber Monday deals and benefits from increased purchases on that day–as being in the top three courier companies for highest amount of global carbon emissions for last mile delivery at an estimated 1,100,000 tCO2 a year. UPS and FedEx round out the top three with an estimated 1,300,000 and 1,200,000 tCO2 per year, respectively. The total from these three companies alone is roughly equal to the amount that 480,000 U.S. homes emit in a year, or 800,000 petrol passenger vehicles.
In addition to creating carbon emissions that fuel climate change, the exhaust from delivery vans during last mile delivery is in our neighborhoods and in our lungs. As the delivery vans drive from warehouse to doorstep, often several vans pass by a home in one day. And “several” grows to hundreds and thousands of vehicle trips a day for homes near warehouse distribution centers, which are often built in locations that are of communities of color and have lower income than surrounding areas. Additionally, the people who work at the warehouses and drive delivery vehicles breathe the exhaust. Exhaust-filled air contributes to asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, and other health issues that no one should have to experience just for breathing.
In order to meaningfully reduce last mile emissions and eliminate filling communities with exhaust, Amazon and other delivery companies need to commit to zero-emission deliveries by 2030. They need to globally transition to fully-electric fleets of delivery vehicles for both employees and subcontractors, expand use of cargo bikes and delivery hubs, and support city projects for zero-emission zones.
“Every Cyber Monday purchase and delivery from which Amazon and other companies profit this holiday season is another reason why they need to be accountable for their last mile delivery impacts and help clean up the very air we breathe,” said Amanda Elyse, Corporate Campaigner with the Clean Mobility Collective.
By Amanda Elyse, Corporate Campaigner with the Clean Mobility Collective.