The boss of Toys R Us in the US has told consumers that they should be mindful of the possible environmental impact of online shopping.
“It’s very ungreen,” Toys R Us chief executive Jerry Storch told the Financial Times. “[People are] just so enraptured with how cool it is that they can order anything and get it brought to their home that they aren’t thinking about the carbon footprint of that. But that will change.
“Driving a truck down a country lane in rural Connecticut to deliver a package is hardly the greenest way of product delivery to occur. “I don’t mean to slam anyone – that’s what customers want. People are going to start realising, wait, I’m already taking my children to school. The store is right there. I can just pick it up.”
Toys R Us sold $1bn of goods online last year, accounting for seven per cent of total sales.
Evidence for this alleged environmental impact are mixed. A Heriot Watt university study in 2009 concluded that: “While neither home delivery nor conventional shopping has an absolute CO2 advantage, on average, the home delivery operation is likely to generate less CO2 than the typical shopping trip.”
However, in the same year a different study from Carnegie Mellon university “found that buying a flash drive from Buy.com cut energy use and CO2 emissions by 35 per cent compared with traditional shopping”.