A recent representative survey conducted by the opinion research company Civey on behalf of the German E-Commerce and Mail Order Retail Association (bevh) has revealed that a quarter of the German online shoppers are consciously looking for sustainable shopping offers on the Internet.

According to bevh, sustainable packaging is essential to 42.7 percent of the more than 2,000 respondents of the survey. On second place is the requirement for transparency regarding the origin of goods and the supply chain (41.1 percent). On the third place is the offer of products from sustainable production (34.5 percent), followed by social commitment (32.2 percent) and transparency of production conditions in connection with online retailing (30.1 percent). Low-emission delivery and the use of green electricity were the least important in terms of consumer preferences. Multiple responses were possible. However, around one-third of the respondents do not attach particular importance to any of the measures.

When asked what compromises those surveyed would make to shop more sustainably, the highest level of approval was given to returning reusable packaging (34.8 percent), followed by buying goods with minor blemishes (also called B-goods) at 34.0 percent and longer delivery times (32.6 percent).

Rather disappointing is that one-third of respondents are not prepared to make any compromises in favor of sustainability when shopping online (32.4 percent). Only 23.2 percent would accept a surcharge for sustainable packaging; only a quarter (25.0 percent) would accept abandoning shipping packaging.

„Our industry has long been making efforts for more environmental and social responsibility and will continue to do so,” says Christoph Wenk-Fischer, CEO of bevh. “We are encouraged by the quarter of respondents who stated that they had not ordered from an online retailer because it did not meet sustainability criteria that were important to them. In other words, a quarter of the customers is quite consciously looking for more sustainable online shopping opportunities.”

18.9 percent of the people surveyed were not aware of whether or how sustainable the online store they used was. Wenk-Fischer said that the industry is aware that it will be essential to become more transparent and convince both the retailers and the consumers that environmental and social responsibility is crucial.

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