Black Friday: The carbon cost of your online shop

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·3-min read
Packages are ready for shipment in the parcel sorting center of post and parcel delivery company PostNL in Sassenheim on November 10, 2020, in the run-up to Black Friday, Sinterklaas and Christmas, making it the busiest time of the year. (Photo by Sem van der Wal / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo by SEM VAN DER WAL/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
Packages are ready for shipment in the parcel sorting center of post and parcel delivery company PostNL in Sassenheim on November 10, 2020, in the run-up to Black Friday, Sinterklaas and Christmas, making it the busiest time of the year. Photo by Sem van der Wal / ANP / AFP Getty Images

While 85% of UK consumers plan to shop for deals online this Black Friday, just 1 in 10 are considering the impact their online shopping deliveries may have on the environment.

Research for the Dirty Delivery Report from comparison site money.co.uk, shows deliveries from Black Friday shopping are expected to release over 429,000 tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

To put this into perspective 429,000 tonnes of carbon is equivalent to 435 return flights from London to New York or the same weight as 61,308 elephants.

By analysing the annual sustainability statements released by 12 major parcel delivery companies in the UK, the consumer spending experts at money.co.uk has shown which companies are committed to cutting the carbon cost of home deliveries and which ones have a long way to go to becoming green.

READ MORE: BP looks to net-zero goal with new green hydrogen project

Amazon (AMZN) processed 4.4 million transactions on Black Friday in 2019. Based on the average parcel being delivered and the predicted 14% increase in online spending, Amazon could be set to process a whopping 5.1 million transactions this year.

The research estimates that Black Friday purchases via Amazon alone could result in at least 18,854 tonnes of additional CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere.

Delivery service Hermes is predicted to produce the most CO2 from Black Friday deliveries; 58,313 tonnes of CO2, while DPD is also expected to rack up around 42,000 tonnes.

The study also found that one in three (35%) of consumers opt for next day delivery when making a purchase online which can be the least carbon-efficient

READ MORE: McDonald's adds plant-based burgers to menu as firms vie to hit net-zero

Money.co.uk crowned Royal Mail (RMG.L) as the most carbon conscious delivery company in its study. The company has the largest “feet on the street” network of 90,000 postal workers, and they have reduced carbon emissions by 29% since 2005.

The company is always looking for new environmentally friendly ways to deliver, such as investing in a 295 strong fleet of electric vehicles.

Carbon emissions have been a hot button issue for corporations in recent months, as companies across the board have been attempting to show how they can hit certain climate goals. This has included fast food chains adopting meat-free menus, and oil companies such as BP (BP.L) pledging plans to hit net-zero emissions by 2050.

Alongside these, governments have been accused of failing to invest enough money in reducing carbon emissions, pledging only a fraction of what they said they would to environmentally friendly causes.

Watch: The £2bn Green Home Grants scheme explained