The environmental cost of missed deliveries

Global warming, degraded air quality and other forms of pollution are a by-product of our industrialised consumer world. Over the last few decades governments and industry have been forced to confront these challenges often because their voters and consumers are demanding action. Major pressure groups and a growing proportion of ordinary individuals are leading changes in behaviour in order to minimise their impact on a strained environment.

The rapid growth in online shopping has both positive and negative impacts on the environment; supply chains can become more efficient but the final part of the goods journey to the consumer’s door has been a more difficult issue. One of the key challenges is missed deliveries. When a consumer orders goods for delivery to the home (still the overwhelmingly preferred delivery option), they have historically needed to be at home to accept deliveries. If they are not home, parcels may be left with neighbours, in a ‘safe’ place, lost or returned to the depot. Any parcels lost, stolen or returned to the depot have considerable additional financial and environmental costs.

Consider these statistics.

delivery_guyIt is estimated that at least 5% of parcel deliveries in the UK are not delivered right first time (RFT).  As approximately 1 billion consumer parcels are expected to be delivered in 2015, this equates to approximately 50,000,000 parcels that require some additional processes to get them in to the end-customers hands. These additional processes may be re-delivery, the consumer travelling to the depot to retrieve their parcel or even a complete replacement of the goods. All these processes incur additional carbon emissions through extra fuel used to either transport the goods or get the consumer to the depot for a parcel collection.

50,000,000 missing parcels adds up to a lot of extra emissions. Research led by the University of Heriot Watt has calculated the carbon emissions of each standard delivery based on the following assumptions:

Round trip (miles) 50 miles

Drops per round 120

Items per drop 1

Co2 emissions per delivery 0.018kg

Therefore 50,000,000 missed deliveries equal 50m X 0.018KG = 900,000Kg of emissions. To put this in perspective (using DEFRA derived figures), missed deliveries in the UK equal 3300 trips from Lands End to John O’ Groats in a standard family car or 4442 individual passenger return trips by air from London to Edinburgh

The Courier industry is starting to treat failed deliveries as an urgent issue and one they wish to fix. 50,000,000 failed deliveries means a huge amount of consumer frustration, waste, cost and inefficiency and this impacts retailers and couriers as well as consumers. The large courier firms treat the issue with increasing seriousness. UPS have recently appointed a new global Head of Sustainability tasked with a remit to minimise their environmental impact on every aspect of their customer service. Most of the major courier firms have sustainability goals but until they get the last mile of delivery right, they will have built-in wastage and avoidable environmental impact.

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Pelipod has the technology and opportunity to significantly reduce failed deliveries and therefore will have a positive impact on the entire industry’s environmental footprint.

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Pelipod is the unattended, safe, intelligent, connected parcel delivery box and it has the proven ability to dramatically reduce failed deliveries.  Fewer failed deliveries means fewer vehicle miles chasing parcels, less wear on tyres, a reduction in overall traffic volumes and many other tangible and intangible benefits. We have not completed an environmental impact study yet (we will) but Pelipod owners can eliminate failed deliveries, have no need to travel to locker boxes or other pick-up points for collections. Not only do Pelipod owners help the planet but we suspect that they maybe just a little less stressed than everyone else – maybe that calls for another study?