Digital technology holds the key to creating a greener, cleaner and more sustainable supply chain for the retail sector

Global trade has been an enormous force for good in recent decades. We have driven up GDPs around the world by building vast import networks linking far-flung destinations in record time, packaging goods and shipping them to stores with ease. End customers have only benefitted from this growth, enjoying the flexibility provided by online shopping and next-day delivery.

In 2021, 2.1 billion shoppers worldwide will order online. They will contribute to an incredible boom in e-commerce, growing from £2.7 trillion in 2019 to £5 trillion in 2023; that’s 22% of all anticipated retail sales the world over, according to The UK alone contributes an average £688 billion per annum to this total, which is only set to rise.

However, it is increasingly clear that the economic benefits brought by global trade are not without consequence for our environment. From the scale of energy required to move goods, to the amount of resources required to package them, the demand retail logistics puts on the planet is massive.

This article was also published in The Retailer, our quarterly online magazine providing thought-leading insights from BRC experts and Associate Members.

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