Indian E-Commerce & Emissions to grow exponentially

Indian E-Commerce & Emissions to grow exponentially

E-commerce parcels delivered to see a 1000% increase in India over 8 years resulting in emissions of 8 Million tons/year by 2030

A new research report by the global Clean Mobility Collective (CMC) and Research Group (SRG) finds that the Indian e-commerce market is expected to witness a tenfold increase from current levels of 4 billion (400 crores) parcels delivered per year to 40 billion (4,000 crores) parcels delivered a year by 2030 with total annual emissions from the sector being 8 million (80 lakhs) tons of CO2 by 2030. This is the equivalent of the emissions from 1.615 million (16.5 lakhs) petrol cars driven for a year or the emissions from 20 gas-fired power plants in a year2.

The global e-commerce market is anticipated to witness substantial growth, with parcel deliveries projected to more than double from 315 billion (31,500 crores) parcels delivered in 2022 to a whopping 800 billion (80,000 crores) parcels delivered annually by 2030. The report also highlights that these increased deliveries will contribute to a total emission of 160 million (16 crores) tons of CO2 in 2030, equivalent to 400 gas-fired power plants.

Already a significant contributor to Greenhouse gas emissions globally, the Transportation sector is expected to witness exponential emission growth by 2030, according to the latest CMC/SRG report, titled Cost of Convenience: Revealing the hidden climate and health impacts of the global e-commerce-driven parcel delivery industry through 2030. The report predicts that global annual e-commerce emissions related to last-mile delivery alone could rise to as high as 160,000 tons of CO2 per year by 2030.

A key finding of the report is that to sequester the last mile delivery sector emissions for 2022 alone over one billion (100 crores) trees would need to be planted every year, allowing them to grow for a decade.

With e-commerce growing exponentially over the coming years, the industry needs to address its ballooning emission footprint. Decarbonising the sector is not only economically viable and saves India significantly massive expenditure on imports but has co-benefits of reducing and avoiding emissions and air pollution as well. The data we are releasing globally is intended to apprise governments, policymakers and companies of the need for urgent action and aligns with the Niti Aayog’s Shoonya campaign which is spearheading the decarbonisation of the sector. Additionally, several state governments are actively looking at addressing emissions from commercial fleets and this would be useful in policy and action at that level too.” said Siddharth Sreenivas, India Coordinator for the Clean Mobility Collective.

The report also finds that in a business-as-usual scenario from 2023 to 2030, the major international and domestic players in the Indian logistics market like Amazon, Flipkart and DHL will collectively contribute an additional 17 million tons of CO2 emissions.

Remarkably, the report indicates that most companies examined globally lack strong commitments to address - reduce their emissions by 2030. A notable exception is the home-grown Indian brand Flipkart, currently operating as a subsidiary of Walmart. Flipkart’s commitments go beyond Walmart’s, which has a 2040 achievement timeline.

The report also singles out Amazon, the global market leader in e-commerce, for its insufficient commitments towards achieving zero emission deliveries by 2030. Amazon also has been highlighted for complete data opacity on their overall emissions including scope 1 and scope 3 under which fleet emissions mainly fall and also lack of reporting on fleet sizes and subcontractor information.

“Unabated growth of last-mile delivery will have significant climate and health impacts if e-commerce companies fail to act at scale before 2030. Amazon, in particular the sector’s global leader knows this is a problem and, in turn, has announced net zero 2040 plans. Based on this new research, not only are Amazon’s plans too weak and a decade too late, the company discloses far less information on last-mile delivery than its e-commerce peers about its progress. Amazon and other last-mile delivery companies must urgently commit to 100% zero-emission deliveries by 2030, and begin fully disclosing their emissions and progress in transitioning to clean transportation,” said SRG Investigative Researcher Dr Devyani Singh.

The report goes further to highlight the health and air pollution impacts worldwide from e-commerce deliveries, and finds that over the next eight years from 2023-2030, without any changes in fleet makeup, e-commerce companies’ last-mile emissions are projected to contribute to health impacts significantly.

“Emissions affect our health and our children’s health. There is a clear and urgent need for e-commerce companies to come clean about their emissions – and to commit to clear, time-bound plans to move to 100% zero-emissions deliveries by 2030. We call on Amazon globally to commit to zero-emission deliveries because, as the sector leader, Amazon should be taking the lead in moving the entire delivery industry toward a pollution-free future,” said Avijit Michael, Managing Trustee & Executive Director of