How to Reduce CO2 Emissions During Last-Mile Deliveries

With the surge in e-commerce and online shopping, the importance of efficient and timely delivery services has reached unprecedented levels. However, the environmental impact of last-mile deliveries, particularly the significant carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated by conventional delivery methods, has become a growing concern for sustainability-minded individuals and organizations.

Reducing CO2 emissions during last-mile deliveries has become an urgent priority as we strive to address the global climate crisis. The transportation sector, responsible for a substantial portion of greenhouse gas emissions, faces the challenge of finding innovative and eco-friendly solutions to minimize its environmental footprint. By embracing sustainable practices and leveraging emerging technologies, we can pave the way for a greener future in logistics and transportation.

In the imminent paragraphs, you will delve into comprehending the role of CO2 emissions in last-mile deliveries and discern the necessity of implementing reduction strategies. You will uncover the advantages of integrating green delivery options into your business model and learn how to utilize carbon offsets to balance emissions. Here’s what you need to know!

What are carbon emissions in Last-Mile Deliveries?

Last-mile delivery is the final stage of the supply chain process, where goods are transported from a distribution center or transportation hub to the end customer’s location, typically their residence. It involves the delivery of goods directly to the consumer’s doorstep, ensuring that the product reaches its intended destination efficiently and on time. This process is crucial in ensuring customer satisfaction and plays a vital role in the overall success of businesses.

Last-mile delivery is of utmost importance, as it is the point of contact between retailers and customers. It directly impacts customer satisfaction and influences the perception of a business. With the rise of e-commerce, consumers have come to expect fast and reliable delivery services. Therefore, companies that excel in last-mile delivery gain a competitive advantage by meeting customer expectations and building a positive brand image.

Unfortunately, last-mile delivery is a significant contributor to CO2 emissions. According to a study by Accenture, last-mile delivery accounts for 53% of the total shipping cost and 41% of total supply chain costs. Factors such as inefficient routing, high frequency of stops and starts, and the use of inappropriate vehicles contribute to increased fuel consumption and emissions. In addition, failed or incomplete deliveries result in re-deliveries, further increasing carbon emissions. To partially solve this problem, you can use Innoship, a simple logistics solution for your business that can help you reduce delivery costs by up to 20%. [1]

How to reduce CO2 emissions during last-mile deliveries

Given the environmental impact of last-mile deliveries, there is an urgent need for businesses to adopt strategies that minimize CO2 emissions. Here are some recommendations:

Offer Green Delivery 

Adopting eco-friendly vehicles is a key strategy for companies to reduce their carbon footprint during last-mile deliveries. Hybrid or fully electric vehicles produce fewer or no CO2 emissions compared to traditional fuel-based vehicles, making them a more sustainable option. 

Offering green delivery options can also attract environmentally-conscious customers. As more consumers prioritize sustainable practices, companies that provide eco-friendly delivery options can enhance their reputation and attract a growing demographic of environmentally-conscious customers. 

In 2017, MIT researchers surveyed consumers to determine their preference between fast shipping and a more time-efficient method that would save 100 trees. Upon being informed about this trade-off, 40% of the participants expressed their willingness to wait for extended periods to consolidate their packages into a single delivery and contribute to preserving the trees. [2]

Collaborating with green logistics providers is another effective strategy for reducing CO2 emissions during last-mile deliveries. Logistics providers prioritizing sustainable practices, such as utilizing renewable energy or efficient route planning, can help companies achieve their environmental goals. For example, DHL, a global logistics company, aims to reduce its CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 and has implemented various initiatives, including electric delivery vehicles and optimized route planning. By partnering with such providers, you can benefit from their expertise and contribute to reducing overall emissions in the supply chain. [3]

Implement Click-and-Collect in Reducing Emissions

The click-and-collect concept is a popular delivery method businesses employ to streamline their delivery processes while reducing CO2 emissions. Click-and-collect allows customers to order products online and pick them up in-store or at designated collection points, eliminating the need for home delivery. This method is commonly used by retailers, supermarkets, and even restaurants.

By implementing click-and-collect, companies can significantly reduce CO2 emissions associated with last-mile deliveries. Firstly, it reduces the number of delivery vehicles on the road, as customers are responsible for picking up their purchases. This eliminates the need for multiple delivery trips to individual addresses, leading to a decreased carbon footprint.

Secondly, click-and-collect reduces the distance traveled for deliveries. Instead of driving long distances to deliver products to various locations, businesses can concentrate their inventory in specific collection points, making it more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Finally, click-and-collect also helps in decreasing the number of failed delivery attempts. Failed deliveries often require additional trips, resulting in wasted fuel and increased emissions. By allowing customers to choose a convenient pickup location and time, the chances of failed deliveries are significantly reduced.

Implementing click-and-collect comes with several benefits beyond just reducing CO2 emissions. It offers improved convenience for customers, allowing them to decide a time and location that suits them best for pickup. Additionally, businesses can save costs associated with home delivery, as click-and-collect eliminates the expenses of fuel, maintenance, and labor involved in doorstep deliveries.

Discover also: Assess the performance of your couriers with Innoship Free Analytics.

Plan and optimize routes

Route optimization involves using software or algorithms to determine the most efficient route for delivery. It considers the shortest distance, minor fuel consumption, or minimal traffic disruptions. In last-mile deliveries, where multiple drop-offs in proximity need to be coordinated, route optimization becomes a critical factor in logistics and supply chain management.

Route optimization has many benefits, especially in terms of reducing CO2 emissions. Delivering vehicles can significantly reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by traveling shorter distances and avoiding congested routes. 

To implement route optimization, you can utilize Innoship. It automatically finds eligible carriers based on order details, pickup location, destination, and, most importantly, your preferences.

Improve Packaging and Returns

You can use eco-friendly packaging materials, such as recycled or biodegradable materials, to reduce waste and emissions. Additionally, reducing packaging sizes to fit products more snugly not only saves on material costs but also decreases the overall weight and volume of the package. This leads to more efficient transportation, resulting in lower CO2 emissions. 

Returns contribute significantly to CO2 emissions as they result in additional delivery trips. Businesses can reduce returns by ensuring high product quality and accurate product descriptions to meet customer expectations. Implementing better quality control measures and improving customer service can help address issues without resorting to returns. In cases where returns are unavoidable, you can adopt efficient return practices to minimize emissions. 

Reducing CO2 emissions during last-mile deliveries benefits the environment and businesses seeking to align with the values of environmentally conscious consumers. For more information on how you can optimize your deliveries, contact us! Together, we can drive towards a more sustainable future.

Innoship’s mission truly syncs with the eco-conscious values countless consumers hold today. Lockers & PUDOs, being the ideal way to make logistics greener and more efficient, have become an absolute necessity for many businesses aiming to embrace sustainability.

With our cutting-edge automated delivery allocation system, we can offer you a seamless solution to connect your business with over 37,000+ eco-friendly Lockers & PUDOs

Joining hands with Innoship means taking a significant step towards a brighter, greener future. Experience the power of our advanced algorithms that enhance your shipping quality and ensure cost control. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together and make a real difference. Contact Innoship today, and let us show you how we can revolutionize your shipping practices for the better. Together, we can build a sustainable and prosperous tomorrow.


[1] THE SUSTAINABLE LAST MILE Accessed 29 June 2023.

“[2] Borthwick, Bonnie.”Green Button Project” Consumer Preference for Green Last Mile Home Delivery – MIT Sustainable Supply Chain Lab.” MIT Sustainable Supply Chain Lab, 23 Sept. 2021, Accessed 29 June 2023.”[2] Borthwick, Bonnie. “Green Button Project” Consumer Preference for Green Last Mile Home Delivery – MIT Sustainable Supply Chain Lab.” MIT Sustainable Supply Chain Lab, 23 Sept. 2021, Accessed 29 June 2023.

“[3]” Zero Emissions by 2050: DHL Announces Ambitious New Environmental Protection Target.” DHL, 2015, Accessed 29 June 2023.”[3] “Zero Emissions by 2050: DHL Announces Ambitious New Environmental Protection Target.” DHL, 2015, Accessed 29 June 2023.