What is ESG, why do e-commerce retailers need to take it seriously and how can the choice of delivery partner make a difference?

02 November, 2023


ESG is a hot topic - and rightfully so - but what do you need to know?

ESG might be something you’ve heard about already, but you might not yet fully understand how important it is to the future of your business reputation and how it will influence whether customers decide to spend their money with you or not.

That’s ok though, we’ve got everything you need to bring you up to speed.

ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance and as a topic was once referred to as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). It is a set of standards used to measure an organization's performance and impact on the environment, society, and corporate governance. ESG is becoming increasingly important for businesses of all sizes, including e-commerce retailers.

ESG is an important consideration for all businesses, but it is especially important for e-commerce retailers.

There are a few reasons why e-commerce retailers need to take ESG seriously. First, consumers are becoming more and more aware of the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions.

A recent study by Google Cloud found that 82% of shoppers prefer a consumer brand's values to align with their own and will choose another brand if it does not. Second, investors are also paying attention to ESG factors.

Meanwhile, a study by BlackRock found that 70% of investors believe that ESG factors are material to long-term financial performance. Third, governments are increasingly regulating ESG practices. For example, the European Union has adopted several regulations aimed at reducing the environmental impact of businesses.

The choice of delivery partner can make a big difference in the ESG performance of an e-commerce retailer. For example, a delivery partner that uses electric vehicles or has a strong commitment to recycling can help the retailer reduce its environmental impact.

Additionally, a delivery partner that treats its employees fairly and pays them a living wage can help the retailer improve its social impact.

So, what specific ways could e-commerce retailers improve their ESG performance? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Reduce their environmental impact by:
    • Using sustainable packaging
    • Investing in energy efficiency
    • Choosing a delivery partner like Asendia that is carbon neutral through offsetting
  • Improve their social impact by:
    • Sourcing products from ethical suppliers
    • Paying their employees a living wage
    • Giving back to the communities they serve
  • Strengthen their corporate governance by:
    • Establishing clear ethical standards
    • Ensuring transparency
    • Holding executives accountable

By taking ESG seriously, e-commerce retailers can improve their reputation with consumers, attract more investors, and comply with government regulations. They can also make a positive impact on the environment and society.

Asendia’s commitment to ESG

There’s no quick fix for reducing carbon emissions in e-commerce. It takes a long-term commitment to make real, sustainable change from everyone.

For example, e-commerce businesses need complete visibility into their entire supply chains to shrink their carbon footprint and provide total transparency to consumers.

Asendia will be joining the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which will guide us in setting and monitoring measurable targets to reduce our carbon emissions, including those caused by our transport suppliers.

By entering the SBTi process, Asendia will commit to submitting concrete and measurable science based carbon reduction targets before the end of 2024 and will consequently be officially listed as “committed” in the SBTi dashboard by the end of 2024

We’re frequently asked by retailers to put a figure on the carbon impact of their parcels, and to provide eco-delivery options to appease growing consumer concerns about climate change.

It’s now an expectation that parcel shipping partners will provide such data, and the proactive ones like Asendia are stepping up to the challenge.

Of course, it’s not easy to calculate the carbon emissions of a parcel from warehouse to destination, but Asendia is working hard to help our retail partners find the answer.

We're doing this by developing tools that track factors like a shipment's weight, distance travelled, and modes of transport used. This will make it possible for every customer to discover the estimated carbon footprint of their delivery.

And the number of innovations emerging all the time to help cut the carbon impact of parcels, such as eco-packaging, electric vehicles, and Sustainable Air Fuel (SAF) is growing.

In addition to rising customer expectations, legislation enforcing carbon transparency is on the horizon. Retailers who aren't already providing their customers with the full picture on their delivery's environmental impact may soon be forced to do so, and we’re taking that seriously in our own business too.

Our founding companies La Poste and Swiss Post were ahead of their time with sustainable initiatives and carbon offsetting. In fact, La Poste was the first delivery operator in the world to reach carbon neutrality by 2012 for mail, parcel, express, and digital services.

One big challenge we face is that Asendia does not own transport assets and infrastructure – trucks, airplanes, and vehicles. Instead, we buy services from the transport providers for our shipping routes, and over 95% of our emissions come from these vehicles. This makes it hard for us to manage carbon reduction ourselves, beyond partnering with ‘carbon conscious’ suppliers and carrier partners (which we do!).

So, we have focused on offsetting to achieve carbon neutrality.

For Asendia, emissions predominantly come from the aeroplanes and transport vehicles used in our international deliveries and returns (our Scope 3). A very low percentage of emissions come from our buildings, machinery, and essential business travel (our Scope 1+2).


In 2022, Asendia became carbon neutral, offsetting all emissions caused by our international transport worldwide, including those by our partners. We also offset emissions from parcel returns, our buildings, machinery, and business travel.

As a leading global delivery solutions provider, Asendia is committed to ESG now and in the future. To achieve this, we have several initiatives in place to reduce our environmental impact, improve our social impact, and strengthen our corporate governance. These include an automated CO2 Calculation Tool and low emission delivery options for major cities in key global markets.

We are committed to continuously improving our ESG performance and making a positive impact on the world. To read more about our projects please click here: https://www.asendia.com/sustainability_at_asendia

By taking ESG seriously, e-commerce retailers can improve their reputation, attract more investors, and comply with government regulations. They can also make a positive impact on the environment and society.

If you have any questions about ESG and how Asendia can help your business reduce its impact on the environment, and even make a positive difference, get in touch.


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