• Pablo Fernández

Eco-responsibility: who signed the government charter?


This article was originally published by Stéphanie Marius.


Following a consultation with the actors concerned, the government unveils two charters of good practice dedicated to e-retailers and actors of commercial real estate. If Cdiscount, in particular, is a signatory, it is not the case of Amazon.


While the health crisis has revealed the importance of the supply chain and e-commerce players, their environmental impact is causing controversy. In response, the government has announced the implementation of two commitment charters, the first aimed at logistics real estate decision-makers, the second at e-tailers.


The government favors "an approach based on voluntariness and adherence, rather than on a system of sanctions," according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition. The two charters will run for the next six years. "We have made the bet of voluntary in addition to the legislative process," justifies the spokesman.


The charter dedicated to logistics real estate will be signed by some thirty players. The latter are committed, for all new construction, to cover 50% of the roof with photovoltaic panels, against 30% previously (it is possible to substitute a green roof). "It is advisable to give priority to these installations in the sunniest areas," the ministry said. In addition, the logistics companies are committed to concentrating the creation of new warehouses on existing industrial wastelands, in return for access to an inventory of these wastelands. Other commitments include not sealing off plots of land (100% of rainwater must be able to seep into the ground) so as not to saturate sewage systems, and planting hedges along half the property line of each site. This initiative is in line with the global plan to protect pollinating insects initiated by the government.


The follow-up of the actions is the responsibility of the interministerial committee of logistics (Cilog), in partnership with France Logistique. "Logistics is an essential link in the resilience of our economy, it is a key sector for the attractiveness of our industry," said Bercy. The spokesman mentions the possibility of a support by the fund for the recycling of wastelands, within the framework of the France Relance plan.



At the same time, the charter dedicated to e-commerce is signed by about fifteen players in the sector, including Cdiscount, eBay, Fnac Darty, Veepee, La Redoute, Rakuten. Notable exception, Amazon has not agreed to commit for the moment. Contacted by Ecommerce Mag, the group says: "Amazon is committed to growing its business and serving its customers while mitigating the impact on our planet. We co-founded The Climate Pledge to encourage companies and organizations to become carbon neutral across their operations by 2040 - we were the first company to make this commitment and have helped more than 100 other companies join the initiative. We are making significant investments in proven and emerging technologies to address the biggest contributors to our carbon footprint: deploying new renewable energy projects, electrifying our delivery fleet with more than 100,000 new electric vehicles, modernizing our logistics centers, and more. We have signed several sustainability commitments and are considering signing the Charter. However, we will wait until key elements such as the work of Ademe are available before making a decision."


Amazon is highlighting two points: the numerous initiatives implemented by the group in France and the need to put into perspective the arguments pointing out the impact of e-commerce. According to a report by Oliver Wyman (note that the study was commissioned by Amazon), deliveries linked to online commerce save between four and nine times the traffic generated by individual trips to stores. The study also points to the fact that shopping at physical retail outlets would result in an average of two to three times more greenhouse gas emissions than shopping online.


"The first commitment is to reduce the volume of packages by 75%," says the ministry. In addition, companies will have to consolidate the sending of packages of the same order and inform the consumer of the environmental impact generated by the delivery of its products.


The return products is another major axis: "The actors undertake not to encourage the consumer to order several sizes of the same product to limit its returns, using a size guide, for example, and an alert when an item is ordered in different sizes," adds the ministry. Finally, the e-tailer will have to highlight products with the best environmental record (recycled materials, labels related to environmental impact ...).


While adherence to one of the two charters is a commercial argument for e-traders and logistics real estate companies, no penalties are provided for signatories in case of non-compliance. However, "the monitoring committee will be able to remove from the list companies that do not meet their commitments," concludes the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

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