Ecommerce Europe’s event “Digitalisation in retail: an enabler for the EU Green Deal”


On Thursday, 3 June, Ecommerce Europe had the pleasure to host a webinar on “Digitalisation: an enabler for the EU Green Deal”.

The digitalisation of the retail sector and the growth of e-commerce can be important contributors to more sustainable practices. Joris D’Inca, from the consultancy Oliver Wyman, introduced the audience to new research with additional directional data points on the overall, end-to-end impact of e-commerce on the environment and our economy. The results of the study “Is e-commerce good for Europe? Economic and environmental impact study” that were presented during the event show that the impact of digital commerce in terms of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) emissions is lower than very often assumed, supporting the idea that the most sustainable practices and choices require the availability of a mix of options and information.

Building on some of these results, the panel discussion composed of Elise Cachin (EU Public Affairs Advisor, IKEA Retail), David Scuderi (Principal Public Policy, Amazon) and Amaryllis Verhoeven (Head of Unit, Digital Transformation of Industry, European Commission, DG GROW) dived into further details on the role of EU and companies’ sustainable strategies.

Amaryllis Verhoeven, from the European Commission’s DG GROW, acknowledged the role of digitalisation and the importance of taking SMEs on board in the digital and green transition, which was an important part of the reflection around the EU Industrial Strategy. Digitalisation has for example enabled the development of “local e-commerce platforms” during the COVID-19 restriction, to help small local shops stay connected to consumers throughout this period. The Commission is also working on a digital product passport, to allow for a better tracking of products & their supply chains. Ms. Verhoeven also insisted on the importance of coordinated action, for that reason the Commission will promote the development of digital and green transition pathways per ecosystem. Highlighting how business models are continuously evolving, she stressed the need for legislation to be technologically neutral and innovation-friendly.

Diving into her IKEA Retail’s vision and concrete application of digitalisation, Elise Cachin stressed that digitalisation was not a goal in itself, but a tool to develop and transition to more sustainable practices, providing concrete examples of how that translated to IKEA’s day-to-day business. Of course, data remains a key aspect. As Elise Cachin highlighted, data are worth little if they are not accessible, and actionable.

David Scuderi gave an insight into Amazon’s holistic approach to meet their goal of net-zero carbon by 2040 , from transitioning to renewable energy to involving consumers through its “Climate Pledge Friendly” program.

If you want to discover other examples and best practices on e-commerce and sustainability, you can consult the 2nd edition of Ecommerce Europe’s Collaborative Report on Sustainability and e-Commerce!