Third of adults love thrill on online shopping delivery – but get ‘green guilt’

People are trying to shop greener online – including looking for sustainable brands, and choosing a delivery company which uses electric or low carbon vehicles

Use of an electric or low carbon vehicle for deliveries is among top considerations for online shopping customers
Use of an electric or low carbon vehicle for deliveries is among top considerations for online shopping customers

A third of adults are “obsessed” with buying items online for the thrill of a delivery – despite suffering from “green guilt”, a study has found.

Research among 2,000 adults revealed almost half (48 per cent) claim the arrival of an item is the highlight of their day.

However, 37 per cent worry about the damage their delivery is causing the environment, and 27 per cent suffer from “green guilt”.

Avoiding poor quality items that are bad for the environment (51 per cent), looking for “sustainable” brands (46 per cent), and consolidating purchases (45 per cent) are just some of the ways people try and shop greener online.

And four in ten of those polled wish there was a simpler and greener way to package and return items.

Nearly half of Brits say getting an online delivery is the highlight of their day


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Nancy Hobhouse, head of environmental, social and governance (ESG) at Hermes, which commissioned the research to mark its build on sustainability commitments – from trialling eCargo bike and pedestrian couriers, to offering packageless returns – said: “The shift to online shopping looks set to stay.

“We know people are concerned about sustainability and, as the research shows, are factoring this into their purchasing decisions, which is great.

“However, delivery remains one of their concerns, and as a responsible carrier, we recognise our impact on the environment and the role we have to play to be as sustainable as possible.”

The research also found nearly three-quarters of respondents feel it is everyone’s responsibility to try and be green, with 64 percent feeling better when they use items they know are more sustainable.

While over half (56 per cent) would be more inclined to shop with a brand they know has green processes in place for its customers.

And when buying from a sustainable brand, 40 per cent named using green vehicles (e.g. EVs or low carbon) for deliveries as the most important factor.

It also emerged 73 per cent expect the delivery company to ensure items are sent out in the best way possible for the environment.

And 59 per cent want to be greener when having items delivered or returned, but just don’t know how.

Furthermore, over one in four (28 per cent) would be less inclined to send an item back because they know this could negatively affect the planet.

Eco-friendly packaging is the top consideration for those wanting to shop sustainably


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More than two-fifths (41 per cent) of those who took part in the survey, carried out via OnePoll, admitted they are ordering more items online than ever before, and wish there was a more sustainable way to have items delivered or returned.

Using sustainable packaging, returning an item with its original wrapping, and choosing a delivery company which uses EVs or low carbon vehicle green options, are the considerations shoppers make to be greener.

When asked about what is most important to them when buying from a sustainable brand, eco-friendly packaging, recycling programmes and green vehicles for delivery were the most popular.

Nancy Hobhouse, from Hermes, added: “The responsibility lies with us to ensure we deliver to our customers and clients in the greenest way possible.

“It’s why we offer collection or returns from local shops which reduces CO2, and packageless returns, and we’ve invested in our fleet to have vehicles running on greener fuels at every stage of delivery.

“We’re committed to trialling innovative, low carbon ways to deliver parcels – such as by eCargo bike or pedestrian couriers.

“However, we know that there’s more to do, and we will continue to innovate as part of our wider commitment to sustainability and ethics.”

10 things Brits think are important when buying from a sustainable brand

  1. Eco-friendly packaging
  2. Recycling programmes
  3. Green vehicles for deliveries e.g. EV or low carbon
  4. Fair pay living wages to employees
  5. Use of renewable energy
  6. Fair and correct working conditions
  7. Sustainable fabric/materials
  8. Sustainable shipping
  9. The manufacturing
  10. Utilising carbon offsetting

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