Major e-commerce players are committed to the environment, Amazon refuses to sign

The main e-commerce players in France have signed a charter to make their sector more sustainable. In particular, with this text, they commit themselves to reducing waste and better informing consumers about the ecological footprint of parcels.

CDiscount, eBay, Rakuten, Fnac-Darty, Maisons du Monde, Veepee… The main e-commerce players have committed themselves to the French government to make their sector more sustainable by signing a charter. But one big name is missing: Amazon.

Nevertheless, talks have taken place with the American giant, but the latter preferred not to sign the charter given the demands it makes, confirms Bercy, who indicates that Amazon’s position “could evolve over time”.

The “charter of commitments to reduce the environmental impact of online commerce” was signed by fourteen e-commerce players, by the Federation of E-Commerce and Distance Selling (Fevad) and by the Minister for the Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili , and by Cédric O, Secretary of State for the Digital Transition.

This charter will run for six years, but the government reserves the right to change it at any time, in consultation with the signatories. It consists of three components: reduction of packaging, better consumer information and delivery logistics.

Guest of the Grand Journal de l’Eco on BFM Business, Marc Lolivier, General Delegate of Fevad, returned to this absence from Amazon:

“We encourage them to sign the charter and I thought I understood in their statement that they are looking. It happened quickly and that’s good because it creates movement. This charter will live in time, it’s also the intention to meet regularly, there are fourteen today, but I can tell you that we are discussing with many other sites that you will be joining us soon.

Reduce packaging

Specifically, the signatories commit to reduce packaging volume for at least 75% of products or packaging by December 31, 2024. To do this, companies are invited to eliminate overpacking and use packaging adapted to the size of the product as much as possible. the product.

In addition, the charter requires companies to use delivery packaging made from recycled, recyclable or reusable primary materials and to give preference to packaging materials with the best environmental results.

E-commerce players also promise to consolidate the shipment of consumer-ordered products. No more packages arriving three days in a row, reducing their carbon footprint.

In terms of delivery, they will have to make public the share of low-emission vehicles of less than 3.5 tons in the carriers’ fleets from 2023.

Better inform consumers

The charter emphasizes the need to provide consumers with more information about the environmental impact of e-commerce. The companies commit to declare the carbon footprint of each delivery method from 1 January 2023 and to offer several to the buyer, indicating the less polluting choice. He is then free to choose it.

On the other hand, the signatories will have to ensure that consumers are warned about the environmental impact of parcel returns. A practice encouraged by some companies because it encourages purchases.

With the rise of e-commerce and the closure of stores during the health crisis, many French people have gotten into the habit of ordering the same item in different sizes and returning the ones that don’t fit them. The carbon footprint of returned products then increases significantly.

In order to limit returns, the signatories to the charter commit to providing more regular sizing guides to better support consumers. A warning message may also appear when a customer orders multiple items of different sizes.

No monetary consequences for non-compliance

Contrary to a law, the charter is not binding. Signatories who do not respect it therefore do not expose themselves to any sanction. At the initiative of the text, the government explains that it wants to “raise a more limited number of actors rather than pass a law”, and believes “in the virtuous nature of the approach”.

“We took the gamble to seek out the key players in the industry and ask them to volunteer, believing that we could go further with a charter than a law,” Bercy defends.

The signatories undertake to report annually to the State on the resources used and the results achieved with regard to each of the commitments. The state services ensure the publication of these results.

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