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Six e-commerce giants including Amazon, Flipkart falling short on clean air commitments: Study

The SOMO report titled ‘Parcel Delivery on a Warming Planet’ has revealed that the retail firms reviewed for the analysis have failed to establish aggressive plans to decarbonise in accordance with the 1.5-degree goal.

December 08, 2021 / 10:27 AM IST
(Representative image: Shutterstock)

(Representative image: Shutterstock)

Six major e-commerce and delivery giants — Amazon, Walmart, Flipkart, UPS, DHL, and FedEx — have been found to be falling short on clean air and climate commitments, a new worldwide report titled 'Parcel Delivery on a Warming Planet' has revealed.

The study conducted by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen or SOMO), a Dutch research agency, was commissioned by Stand Earth and environmental think-tank ASAR.

The SOMO report titled ‘Parcel Delivery on a Warming Planet’ revealed that the retail firms reviewed for the analysis have failed to establish aggressive plans to decarbonise in accordance with the 1.5-degree goal.

Despite admitting the climate catastrophe and the impact of last-mile delivery, these delivery and retail giants failed to offer sufficient statistics on the initiatives they have undertaken or the progress they have made on the same. Only one company – Walmart --  revealed plans to completely eliminate all emissions from its operations by 2040.

Ilona Hartlief, a researcher at SOMO, said: “Most companies are currently only starting the rollout of their fleet electrification and will need to accelerate and upscale their efforts in order to achieve their own climate goals and realise sustainable last-mile delivery.”

Meanwhile, Flipkart (by 2030) and Fedex (by 2040) have established worldwide targets for converting their last-mile delivery fleets to electric vehicles, while DHL has set a 60 percent electrification target for its fleet. Amazon, on the other hand, has announced a partly net-zero fleet emissions objective, but UPS has no specific fleet-related emissions target, the SOMO report found.

The report further points out that companies such as Flipkart and Amazon have announced that they would have 2,000 and 1,800 electric vehicles in their fleets by 2021, respectively, but do not specify how this relates to the overall size of their fleets.

Walmart has only reported on pilot programmes and hasn't provided any data on the current use of electric vehicles on a broader scale.

In the next five to ten years, several companies have set ambitious targets to acquire electric vehicles (e.g., Amazon, Flipkart, Deutsche Post, DHL Group, UPS). Given the limited size of their present electric vehicle fleets and the predicted development of the global package delivery sector, the majority of the six firms profiled in this research will need to significantly accelerate their efforts to meet their fleet electrification or emissions objectives, the report flagged.

“Last-mile delivery fleets represent a key opportunity for rapid electrification, given that the segment is already at TCO parity with their ICE counterparts. Considering the poor state of air quality in Indian cities, Indian last-mile delivery companies must take the lead in cleaning up emissions from their operations, starting now. This report makes it clear, we need ambitious commitments and transparent reporting, urgently!” said Polash Mukerjee, Lead, Air Quality and Climate Resilience, Consultant, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) India Program.

These findings are of significance in light of the recently concluded international conference on climate change (COP26), where India committed to achieving an ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2070.

The study warns that if no policy interventions are made, the increasing e-commerce sector and accompanying last-mile traffic would cause ‘serious issues’ in cities, including traffic congestion, local pollution, and climate implications.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Dec 8, 2021 10:27 am