The World’s Leading E-Retailers and Environmental Sustainability

Jones, Peter and Bown, G Robin and Comfort, Daphne and Hillier, David (2015) The World’s Leading E-Retailers and Environmental Sustainability. In: European Retail Research. European Retail Research, 28 (1). Springer, pp. 49-66. ISBN 978-3-658-09603-8

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Abstract

The aims of this paper are twofold, namely to offer an exploratory review of the environmental sustainability commitments and achievements being publicly reported by the world’s leading e-retailers and to offer some wider reflections on the way these e-retailers are addressing and pursuing sustainability agendas. The paper begins with brief outlines of how the internet is transforming consumer behaviour and retail operations and of the possible environmental impacts of e-retailing and a short discussion of environmental sustainability. The paper draws its empirical material from the most recent information on environmental sustainability posted on the world’s leading e-retailers’ corporate web sites. The findings reveal that the majority of the world’s leading e-retailers publicly report or provide some information on their commitment to environmental sustainability which embraces climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, waste management, water management, bio-diversity and nature conservation. However the authors argue that these commitments can be interpreted as being constructed around the search for operational efficiencies and cost reductions and being driven by business imperatives more than any genuine commitment to environmental sustainability. More critically the authors argue that these commitments are driven more by the search for efficiency gains, that they are couched within existing business models centred on continuing growth and that as such the world’s leading e-retailers are, at best, currently pursuing a ‘weak’ rather than a ‘strong’ model of sustainability.

Item Type: Book Section
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sustainability; e-retailers; sustainable consumption; economic growth; external assurance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5428 Retail Trade
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Business School > Business and Human Resource Management
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business Research
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 17 May 2016 13:45
Last Modified: 20 May 2017 16:47
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3490

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