Effects of e-commerce on greenhouse gas emissions: A case study of grocery home delivery in Finland

H. Siikavirta (Corresponding Author), M. Punakivi, M. Kärkkäinen, L. Linnanen

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63 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we present a literature review of the general and environmental effects of e‐commerce in various parts of the demand‐supply chain. These are further translated into effects on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the food production and consumption system. The literature study revealed many opportunities for e‐commerce to reduce GHG emissions in the food production and consumption system. Some possibly negative effects were also identified. Electronic grocery shopping (e‐grocery) home delivery service was chosen as the subject of a case study because of its direct and indirect potential for reducing the GHG emissions in the food production and consumption system.

GHG emission reduction potential through the implementation of various e‐grocery home delivery strategies was quantified. Depending on the home delivery model used, it is possible to reduce the GHG emissions generated by grocery shopping by 18% to 87% compared with the situation in which household members go to the store themselves. We estimate that the maximum theoretical potential of e‐grocery home delivery service for reducing the GHG emissions of Finland is roughly 0.3% to 1.3%; however, the current and estimated future market potential is much smaller, because the estimated market share of e‐grocery services is only 10% by 2005. Narrowing the gap between the theoretical and the actual potential requires a model that would simultaneously provide additional value to the consumer and be profitable to companies. To be able to achieve significant reductions in GHG emissions, system‐level innovations and changes are required. Further research is needed before conclusions can be reached as to whether e‐commerce and e‐grocery are useful tools in that respect.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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