business news in context, analysis with attitude

Last week we took note of a CNN report about a new study in the scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology saying that it is more eco-conscious to go to the store than to order online.  Because of how people shop, click-and-collect was seen as more environmentally sensitive than shopping in-store, which is better than ordering online for delivery.

MNB reader Dan Jones wrote:

The CNN report on greenhouse gasses is only looking at part of the equation.

To buy items from Brick and Mortar retail there are additional greenhouse gas considerations beyond the last mile:

• Fuel to move case from warehouse to retail store.

• Fuel for night crew to drive to store and do the job of restocking shelves.

• Cost to keep the store lit and heated at night to welcome customers the next day

These are all incremental to the Amazon experience – and it does not address the other impacts like the size of the store parking lot.

On a separate issue, one MNB reader responded to an observation I made last week:

I too have noticed Amazon cutting back on packaging a little bit. But I am amazed at the over packaging from Target on recent orders. My family has a standing order for paper towel and toilet paper that comes once a month from Target. Every month we get a box roughly 3x the size of each item, shipped separately, and the excess space is filled up with no less than 15 cells of air pillows (and sometimes many more). All for an item that basically could be shipped with no packaging and little risk of damage.


The Amazon shift was really evident yesterday when we got a box full of Subscribe & Save items, which in the past might have come in three or four different shipments.  This time, they pulled it all together.

The next step?  I think that they don't need to deliver Subscribe & Save replenishment items on Sunday;  I didn't need them that badly, and they certainly didn't need to have that USPS truck on the road for me.  Maybe Amazon ought to consider asking shoppers if they need Sunday delivery for our orders … I like that it is available, for over time I've realized that it is a nice convenience but rarely necessary.