Are courier services environmentally friendly?

Are courier services environmentally friendly?

In the modern world, both businesses and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their decisions. This includes whether the delivery vehicles of courier services are a good or bad choice for the environment.

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The research

In 2009, the most comprehensive study of its kind found that if a car is driven to acquire a specific item, it uses 4,274 grams of CO2 per kilometre. This is in contrast to a single home delivery, which for one parcel uses 81 grams of CO2 per kilometre. These figures have led to a widely held belief that it is better to order online and use a courier than go shopping with your own car. During the years since that study, greater understanding of environmental risks has led to an active search for further improvements to courier services.

Modern technology

Most delivery vans use diesel, which has long been considered less polluting than petrol. Newer research points to the risk of diesel’s higher levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. That’s why new regulations aim to reduce emissions of NOx as well as CO2. By 2040, the UK government intends there will be no diesel vehicles at all, and some local authorities are already using financial penalties to discourage diesel vehicles in their own cities.

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As a result, many companies are pushing ahead with new technologies to power their vans. Many have signed the Clean Air Commitments. This is most obvious with the increasing use of electric vehicles. Royal Mail, UPS and Hermes are all big name companies pursuing this option. Also, DHL is even selling electric vehicles to other companies.

Other vehicles

Another alternative being utilised by some companies is replacing vans with more environmentally friendly vehicles. Sometimes, this involves reducing reliance on technology, such as switching to bicycles. Alternatively, deliveries can become increasingly modern through use of drones.

There is no doubt that a same day courier, such as provided by can make shopping more efficient in terms of time taken. Its popularity is a clear indicator of that. Now it is time for environmental efficiency to also become a focus.

Whilst all the current solutions to polluting vans have problems, they show that courier services are actively seeking to improve their already good record on environmental friendliness, in line with new government regulation and public expectations.



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