Singles' Day shopping spree in China a new battlefield for carbon reduction

  • China
  • Monday, 15 Nov 2021

Delivery workers sorting packages on a street in Beijing on Nov 12, 2021.- AFP

TAIYUAN (Xinhua): A few days after placing her shopping order online, Wang Maiqi received the pick-up notice from a courier station in her neighbourhood.

After collecting her purchase, she put the packaging in a recycling counter at the courier station and received a virtual egg on a mobile app on her phone.

"When (I've collected) four (virtual) eggs, the platform would deliver the real ones to my home free of charge," said Wang, a resident in the city of Taiyuan, in northern China's Shanxi province.

"It's a win-win action with the old packaging recycled and consumers getting tangible benefits," she added.

In the annual Nov 11 Singles' Day shopping bonanza this year, a total of 60,000 courier stations under Alibaba's logistics arm Cainiao Network have sent out 7.5 million eggs to consumers who recycled the parcel boxes.

The shopping festival, first initiated by Alibaba in 2009, is now getting greener, becoming a new battlefield where companies are trying to make a difference amid the country's efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Alibaba's e-commerce platform Tmall issued 100 million yuan (US$15 million) of green vouchers this year, encouraging consumers to buy energy-efficient home appliances and products with green certificates to support the country's carbon-reduction goals.

E-commerce giant has also joined the low-carbon campaign, developing recyclable packaging, deploying new-energy cargo vans, and adopting photovoltaic power generation in warehousing.

Among all the items on's platform during this year's shopping festival, there are more than 150 million green products.

The company said the energy-efficient air-conditioners, refrigerators and televisions that customers bought from last year could help reduce carbon emissions by nearly two million tonnes annually.

After China announced it would strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, the ambitious targets were lauded by all sectors.

According to the 14th Five-Year Plan for E-commerce Development, e-commerce enterprises should actively adapt to green and low-carbon development requirements, establish a green development vision, fulfil environmental protection responsibilities, and promote green innovation.

The green whirlwind of energy conservation and emission reduction has blown up in the whole chain of e-commerce logistics.

Chinese courier giant ZTO Express launched more than 11 million recycling transfer bags, replacing about 1.16 billion disposable woven bags - equivalent to a reduction of about 104,000 tonnes of garbage.

"The carbon emissions per kilogramme generated by a single ZTO parcel has decreased from 0.091 in 2018 to 0.061 in 2020, showing a downward trend for three consecutive years," said Mr Zhao Xiaolong, general manager of the management centre of the ZTO Express Shanxi branch.

China's State Post Bureau is working to ensure that the utilisation rate of electronic waybills hit 95 per cent, with more than half of e-commerce parcels no longer repackaged.

The utilisation rate of recyclable transfer bags is also reaching 70 per cent, and 10,000 postal express outlets are setting up packaging recycling devices. It is all in a bid to promote the green development of the whole industry.

"The Singles' Day shopping spree not only represents a consumption carnival now. It is, more importantly, an occasion to advocate the concepts of green consumption and low-carbon life and encourage enterprises to save energy and cut emissions," said Professor Geng Yeqiang at the school of economics and management at Shanxi University.

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China , singles , day , recycling , carbon , emissions , sales


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