What is green delivery and should you be offering it to your customers?

By Paazl
July 17, 2018

Being green has never been cooler. Ethical brands such as Reformation, Everlane and Patagonia are winning the hearts of the conscious consumer with their eco-friendly production and use of organic fabrics. Brands are exploring more ethical practices in terms of how they manufacture their products and they are quick to communicate the effects it has on the wider world. But why not apply this way of thinking to delivery too? Could green delivery be another way to prove to your customers that your brand is ethical? Let’s find out.

What is green delivery?

In a nutshell green delivery is the most efficient way of transporting items. Whether that means clustering deliveries together, waiting until the delivery van is at capacity before sending it out, or using carbon-efficient transport such as bikes or electric vehicles.

Sustainable shipping can take longer than other delivery options. But when time is more flexible retailers and carriers can be more efficient.

Who is offering green delivery?

There are a number of brands that offer their customers the chance to reduce their carbon footprint. Let’s meet them.


UK-based food-delivery brand Ocado try and cluster their customers by location. When their customers choose a delivery slot the times which already have a delivery booked in the same area are highlighted as their “greener delivery slots”. All the customer needs to do is look for the green van!


British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s also offer green delivery. In much the same way as Ocado, Sainsbury’s highlight the time slots where there is already a delivery scheduled in that area as being the most efficient option.


Dutch bicycle-supplies retailer Futurumshop have taken things one step further. In the spirit of their products they have partnered with Fietskoeriers to bring their customers free delivery by bike. Providing the best options in terms of price, sustainability and convenience, city dwelling bike-enthusiasts can also receive their orders the same day. What a great partnership!


The food-delivery providers from the Netherlands have taken a slightly different approach to green delivery. Like modern-day milkmen they follow a set route at set times. Their customers know when the electrically-powered delivery van will be in their street – or if not they can follow it on the Picnic app – and it is up to them to ensure they are home to receive their order.

By calculating their route based on customer locations rather than time slots, there is no crisscrossing around town here!

What do customers think?

Customers want to go green! A study conducted by logistics company B2C Europe revealed that 85% of customers would prefer to wait longer for a delivery if it meant that there were less emissions and congestion as a result.

Consumers want to reduce their carbon footprint and are actively seeking and identifying with brands that are doing the same. 69% stated that they would be more likely to buy from a brand that is committed to sustainable practices. However it comes down to communication. 58% of customers are unaware that faster delivery causes more emissions and so are not always opting for the most efficient delivery method.

Niels Agatz from the Erasmus University Rotterdam explores how retailers can encourage their customers to opt for green delivery. A common option is to offer a discount, but Agatz discovered that simply telling customers that it reduces emissions and congestion is almost as effective.

So… should I be offering green delivery?

If you want to appeal to an audience of environmentally aware customers and deliver more efficiently, then yes.

Customers want to buy from sustainable brands and they want to reduce their carbon footprint. Communication is the missing piece. By telling customers that a delivery method is more sustainable the brand shows that they are committed to sustainable practices and customers are more inclined to chose the greener option.

Ultimately, customers want to be more sustainable. We just need brands to offer greener options – and communicate them – so they can be.

Inspired to make your online brand greener?

For more tips on how to go green join us for our webinar where we will be joined by sustainable delivery carriers Stuart.

Alternatively download our sustainability whitepaper for all the insights on e-commerce and the environment.

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