When we hear about stationary trade and online shops, we always talk about which variant is more harmful or which pollutes the environment more. But what are the main differences and when is it better to order something online? Your NAKED crew took a closer look at the comparison and, above all, at the green transition in e-commerce.
A comparison between stationary shops and online shops
One thing right away – regardless of the pros and cons of shopping, it is always best to leave the car at home and do the shopping on foot or by bike. But if this is not possible, then you can definitely weigh up which shopping option is more suitable. There is still a myth that ordering online is bad for the environment. But is that really the case?
Variant 1: Shopping in brick-and-mortar stores
Let's assume that a new kitchen appliance is required, which is available in an ordinary electronics store. If we want to buy it there, we first get in the car and set off. Once there, the various products are beautifully presented. The entire sales area including the loading areas are supplied with electricity (for light, air conditioning, etc.). Once we've found what we need, we'll head back home. By car of course. A major advantage of shopping in stationary retail compared to online shopping is definitely the advice. We can ask as many questions on site as are on the tip of our tongues. As a result, products are less likely to be exchanged or returned. In any case, more pollutants are emitted than we are often aware of. [1, 8, 10, 11]
Variant 2: Shopping in the online shop
If we prefer the convenient shopping option and order the required kitchen appliance in the online shop, we can leave the car at home. For this we need an electrical device and electricity to be able to buy it. My order will be forwarded to a logistician. The camp also needs a lot of resources. Whether the storage facilities have a more climate-friendly power consumption than sales areas always depends on the respective logistics center, but in principle these are tightly packed for cost reasons and no space is required for product presentations.
My order will then be delivered to me by a delivery service. The delivery service vehicle not only has my package in the loading area, but also distributes many other orders to the customers. The pollutant emissions are therefore lower. [1, 8, 9, 10]
You can see the CO balance of the two purchasing options in detail in the following graphic. The calculated CO2 values come from a report by: ÖKO-Institut [1, 8, 10]
Reduction of pollutant emissions: avoid returns
As customers, we also have an important responsibility when we shop online. Before purchasing a product, it is best to ask yourself the question: Do I really need it? Due to the simplicity of online shopping, just a mouse click is enough to buy something. But if you think about the purchase a second time, you might find that the purchase of the product is not that important and urgent. It is also very important to get enough information and not hesitate when you have a question. Every online shop offers opportunities to ask questions: be it in a forum or simply by e-mail. The ecological footprint can therefore be kept small if we avoid returns as much as possible and provide sufficient information in advance. [1, 5, 6]
More green shopping options in e-commerce
First of all: The desire for convenient and simple shopping is growing in our society and is made possible above all by online shopping. According to a study by Statistics Austria, 62% of 16 to 74 year olds bought something online in 2019. 
The main reasons include independence from shop opening hours, selection of items, but of course convenience. 
Climate-friendly delivery options
Ecological rethinking has already arrived in companies. For example, more environmentally friendly delivery options are being offered. The delivery takes longer as a result, but, as already mentioned, excess trips are saved. The desire for comfort and sustainability is thus combined. 
Furthermore, online retailers can also make environmentally friendly decisions when it comes to packaging material. The study by ECC Cologne also found that every eighth consumer is happy to do without superfluous packaging material. This means that shipping boxes that are too large should be avoided and unnecessary air cushions should be saved. [7, 9]
Environmentally friendly thinking at NAKED Optics
The green rethinking has also arrived with us and plays an important role, especially in product development. Optimization and change require one thing above all: patience.
Eco-friendly bio-based plastic eyewear
Products like our ski goggles in particular need a strong and robust material to withstand external influences such as UV rays or a change in temperature. If the wrong material is processed, the lifespan of the products is shorter and you have to replace them more often, for example. Therefore, a change of material is not yet possible with the current status, as there is currently no better alternative to the existing material on the market.
However, we are currently researching and working together with our producer on our first BIO-plastic-based ski goggles for our range. A lot of fine-tuning is required in the research and development of the materials in order to achieve the desired strength values without compromising the longevity of the products. We at NAKED hope to be able to offer a first model with the new mix of materials as early as the coming winter season.
Saving of packaging material
In addition to a long product life and the highest quality, the product packaging is also an important concern for us. All glasses in our range come with a case. The ski or sports sunglasses are thus stowed away and protected when they are not being worn. But not only the protection is guaranteed. Due to the cases, most of our products do not require any additional sales packaging or additional filling materials such as bubble wrap in the shipping carton.
get it contact with us
Finally, it is important to us to draw your attention to the fact that we are happy to advise you. It is important to do your research and ask any questions you may have before ordering anything online. Feel free to contact us and ask us your questions about any of our products: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credits: Photo by @purzlbaum on Unsplash