Let's face it, we've probably never had more packages delivered to us than we have had since COVID-19 caused online shopping to explode. True, there are significant benefits to shopping online during a pandemic, but we need to be aware of the impacts of this increasing trend.
The journey that a parcel takes before it gets to our home - an element of online shopping that is much less visible to consumers - can be mind-boggling. And an increasing number of deliveries leads to more traffic congestion, more noise and, inevitably, more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
It’s safe to say that e-commerce and shipping aren’t going anywhere, so the question is: How can we do better?
A toolkit for reducing emissions from trucks
Équiterre has been working with the Pembina Institute and Jalon to identify solutions for reducing the environmental and socio-economic impacts of the urban freight transportation sector. A new toolbox, tailor-made for decision-makers in the Greater Montreal area, will be published in a few days.
While cities, countries and companies are working to reduce their emissions for their 2030 and 2050 targets, carbon emissions from freight transportation in Quebec rose by 190% between 1990 and 2018! This sector must be urgently addressed, and the proposed solutions in our toolkit are an important starting point.
What can you do?
While waiting for ambitious and concrete measures to be implemented provincially and municipally, we can all do our part to improve the environmental impact of freight transportation.
We must rethink how we make our purchases and consider the environmental impact of each purchase before it reaches our home (resource extraction, processing, production, and transportation), during its use and even after it has reached the end of its useful life.
Before buying something, we must first ask ourselves if we really need it. If so, see if it's possible to borrow it from friends and family, buy it used, and check to see if there are any alternatives that are less energy-intensive, for example a local product instead of an imported one.
But when it's necessary to buy online, there are ways to slightly reduce the impact of the transportation of that product to your door:
- Whenever possible, try to group your purchases into one delivery;
- If you’re not rushed, choose a later delivery to allow the producer to optimize their logistics and reduce the number of trucks on the road.
And to go even further
Talk about the issues around freight transportation with the candidates seeking to represent you in the municipal election on November 7!
Stay tuned for the upcoming release of the toolkit entitled Reducing truck emissions in Montreal: Guiding principles and a policy toolbox for low-carbon urban freight. It is an essential document for elected officials and public service employees in the Greater Montreal area, but could also inspire municipal governments in cities across Quebec and Canada.
»» Watch the recording of the webinar