E-commerce continues to increase – how can we encourage sustainable consumption choices?
E-commerce has increased a lot in recent years, specially during the Corona pandemic. But how sustainable choices do we make online? And how can commerce make it easier for us to make sustainable choices?
– The pandemic has accelerated the transition to increased electronic commerce and we will probably continue to shop just as much online even after the pandemic. Therefore, we must ensure that electronic commerce keeps up with sustainability, says Annelise de Jong, behavioral researcher at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
On behalf of the Swedish Consumer Agency, IVL and the Behavior Lab, has investigated various obstacles to sustainable electronic commerce consumption and produced proposals for measures.
– There are great opportunities in the digital environment to encourage consumers to choose sustainable products and services, but they need to be combined with other measures, such as policy instruments, to make an impact. More information is not enough for consumers to change their behavior, says Annelise de Jong.
Many of the obstacles can be overcome by adapting the digital environment so that the sustainable choice is rewarded. For example, by making the sustainable choice the default or in various ways highlighting the more sustainable as attractive.
Five steps for more sustainable e-commerce
- Make the sustainable choice pre-selected.
- Bring in a wider range of sustainable products and services.
- Create transparency and clarity in eco-labeling and sustainability communication.
- Give the consumer the opportunity to try and give feedback on the more sustainable choices.
- Work systematically to analyze data flows and evaluate the effect of various measures for sustainable choices.