01 Sep

Online Shopping - but make it climate friendly

Online shopping is easy, fast and possible everywhere. A simple internet access is enough and people can fulfil their dreams in seconds. Within a few days, often even just hours, the ordered item arrives directly at home. This saves time and effort.
Especially during the COVID pandemic, when most shops had to shut their doors, ordering via the Internet became increasingly popular. In addition to products that people were more or less already used to shopping for online, new branches of business and product groups were added all the time. From burgers and daily necessities to gardening tools and building materials- everything was purchased on the worldwide web. Thanks to globally sophisticated logistics systems, even the distance to the seller no longer plays a role. Perfume from New Zealand, shoes from New York or costume jewellery from Chile - the possibilities are there and closed shops nipped even the last doubts in the bud. 

So the advantages of internet shopping seem to be many. Endless assortments, unlimited availability, fast delivery, convenient return options and - ideally - even favourable prices. What is all too easily overlooked, however, are aspects that we might not like so much on closer inspection.  
In addition to the negative economic effects on local suppliers and shop owners in the immediate vicinity, hardly anyone thinks about the impact on our climate produced by CO2 emissions from the means of transport due to the delivery routes. 

Not to mention if the whole thing has to make its way back again. Clothing, for example, is a commodity that has a high risk of return. Unlike in a shop, the online buyer cannot try things on before buying. They can't see for themselves the quality and real colour, they can't see if it pinches or tweaks here and there - the haptic experience and the real-life examination are completely missing. Resourceful online shoppers therefore now order a product in several sizes and colours without hesitation. The simple possibility of returning a product is also increasingly used in the advertising of Internet retailers and is delivered as an argument for purchase. Customers choose their favourites from the products and simply return the rest. Free of charge is a matter of course. 

Not only does this generate an enormous amount of additional CO2 emissions, but the returned goods can often no longer be cleaned because the effort would not be economically viable. It is therefore much cheaper for many companies to simply throw away returned products instead of inspecting, sorting and returning reusable goods to the goods cycle. Garments or other products that would actually be in perfect condition end up in landfills and are destroyed in a way that is harmful to the climate. A garment that does not fit and has to make its return journey thus directly harms our environment and thus our climate and life on earth. It is hard to imagine, let alone calculate, how much CO2 is unnecessarily released into our atmosphere every day. 

So what we urgently need are concrete measures to make online shopping more climate-friendly. We have taken the liberty of outlining exactly how this could work in the following:  

From the extraction of raw materials to the production of goods and shipping - CO2 emissions occur everywhere and at all times. Depending on the producer, the type of production and the country of origin, sometimes more, sometimes less. In order to take a more climate-friendly approach, it is important to start with the procurement and extraction of raw materials. The Supply Chain Act, which will already be sanctioned in Germany from 2023, plays a major role here. Companies are responsible for a sustainable view of their supply chains. Nevertheless, many are not aware of the circumstances in their raw material and production countries - illegal deforestation, massive use of pesticides or other chemical auxiliaries and production materials, as well as high levels of water and air pollution are just a few of the problems that are on the agenda in some producing countries. 

HELIOZ supports the reduction of CO2 emissions in affected countries with climate-friendly projects. Through the work we do, we help people and the environment in equal measure. We are actively working in our partner countries on a total of 9 of the 17 goals for sustainable development defined by the UN as part of the "Agenda 2030", the so-called Sustainable Development Goals. These are a global plan to promote sustainable peace and prosperity, as well as to protect our climate and sustain life on earth. We also help companies to do this through the sale of carbon credits and strategic participation in corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. 

Customers rightly expect companies to act responsibly and to address social and environmental issues. Last but not least, this pressure from the world's population has increasingly led to corporate initiatives in the area of social responsibility - in many sectors it has even become the focus of corporate activities in recent years. Transparent CSR activities are an indispensable assessment criterion for internal and external stakeholders such as customers, employees, shareholders and suppliers. Lack of initiative in this area even leads to the removal from so-called preferred supplier programmes and reorientation in the area of suppliers and logistics systems in certain industries.

The mere boiling of water with firewood, which HELIOZ eliminatess with WADI and solar water disinfection (SODIS), enables companies that take their social and sustainable responsibility seriously to acquire CO2 certificates for the voluntary carbon market, which are certified according to the Gold Standard. These certificates, which focus only on high-value climate projects, offer a wide range of additional benefits and are of great interest to companies looking to optimise their carbon neutrality.

With our work, we enable companies to consciously work on their supply chain and see transparency as the most important point here.