FRANCE, 2014

Amazon Distribution Center in Lauwin-Planque


© Marc Bertrand / Rea

E-commerce is a pervasive phenomenon of our society in the 21st century and has radically changed the traditional conception of trade. The advent of Industry 5.0 suggests that this transformation will continue, following technological developments in the fields of information and communications.
The term “electronic commerce” refers to all activities of production, distribution, promotion, sale, and delivery of goods or services using electronic means. Concretely, it represents more than one-third of the annual value generated by commerce on a global scale, primarily through trade between companies, and to a lesser extent, between companies and consumers. These amounts are enormous when we consider that over one-quarter of the world's population over the age of 15 purchases goods on line.
However, e-commerce also increases the number of polluting commercial vehicles, given the logistics system’s inability to cope with the rapid evolution of on-line commerce.
Having freight forwarders deliver products that would require individual consumers to travel significant distances to buy in person could potentially reduce the environmental impact generated, but satisfying the needs of impatient customers who place many small orders, with as many deliveries, forces couriers to head out on their delivery runs with incomplete loads to meet increasingly tight deadlines, thereby increasing the environmental costs of each delivery.
E-commerce also requires boxes and plastic packaging, and leads to pollution produced indirectly by the closure of places dedicated to traditional commerce (e.g., the disposal of buildings). The way each of us buys goods on the web will play a decisive role in a search for the expansion of e-commerce without a massive impact on the environment.

Maria Melato