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VIDEO: Consumer impact on holiday retail emissions

December 7, 2023

The Week in Sustainability – December 4–8

Holiday outdoor shopping

As the festive season approaches, our excitement to celebrate often matches a surge in shopping activities. However, understanding the impact of this increased consumerism on retailer emissions is vital. This week, we explored the significant effects of our holiday shopping habits on the emission profiles of retailers, focusing primarily on Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

Understanding retailer emissions

  • Scope 1 emissions: During the holiday season, retailers often extend their store hours, increasing natural gas use for heating and other direct emissions from the stores.
  • Scope 2 emissions: The festive lighting and extended operating hours result in a spike in electricity consumption, contributing to a retailer's Scope 2 emissions.
  • Scope 3 emissions: This category sees the most significant increase during the holidays. With more goods and services purchased, the entire value chain of retailers is affected, leading to higher emissions.

How consumers can make a difference

As consumers, our choices have a powerful impact on retailer emissions. Here are some ways we can help reduce their environmental footprint:

  1. Conscious purchasing: Opting for eco-friendly and sustainably packaged products can significantly reduce retailers' Scope 3 emissions.
  2. Reducing transportation emissions: In e-commerce, choosing consolidated shipping options can lower transportation and distribution emissions.
  3. Longevity in products: By selecting products with a longer lifespan, we can decrease the frequency of purchases, thus impacting the use and emissions of sold products.

Embracing sustainability in our festive shopping

The holiday season is a period of increased consumption and an opportunity to be mindful of our environmental impact. By making informed and sustainable choices, we, as consumers, can play a crucial role in shaping the sustainability practices of retailers. This period gives us a unique chance to influence the Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions of retailers and, by extension, contribute positively to the environment.

As we enter the holiday season, remember that our purchasing power extends beyond the products we buy; it's a tool for environmental advocacy.

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At Sustain.Life, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, objective, and research-based information to help readers make informed decisions. Written by practitioners and experts, articles are grounded in research and experience-based practices. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by our team of sustainability professionals to ensure content is accurate and aligns with current industry standards. Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.
Sustain.Life Team
Sustain.Life’s teams of sustainability practitioners and experts often collaborate on articles, videos, and other content.
Sustain.Life Team
Sustain.Life’s teams of sustainability practitioners and experts often collaborate on articles, videos, and other content.
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