Amazon identified as ‘worst’ offender for excess packaging

Amazon has topped the list of worst offenders for excess packaging, according to research from The Chartered Institute for Marketing (CIM).

The study, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults, found that nearly half – 48 per cent – of respondents think Amazon is the worst offender for excess packaging.

The figure is a slight improvement on last year’s survey, which revealed that at the time 52 per cent of respondents believed the e-commerce giant to be the worst offender.

"We have invented machine learning algorithms to help us make the smartest packaging choice for customer orders," said an Amazon spokesperson. "Our programs ensure that our packages use as a little material as possible and are right sized to protect customers’ orders."

They added: "Smaller and lighter packages mean Amazon can pack more orders into each delivery, resulting in fewer trips, less fuel burned — all of which minimise our carbon footprint. Since 2015, we have reduced the weight of outbound packaging per shipment by 36 per cent and eliminated over 1 million tons of packaging material, the equivalent of over 2 billion shipping boxes."

Tesco also dropped from 11 per cent in 2020 to 9 per cent this year.

The new report revealed that the vast majority – 82 per cent – of consumers believe that retailers use too much packaging.

A greener Christmas

More than half – 53 per cent – of UK adults who celebrate Christmas think doing so in a more environmentally-friendly way is more important this year, finds the study.

But consumers feel there is a lack of action from brands, with 64 per cent wanting companies to be more transparent about the impact Christmas products and services have on the environment.

Customer behaviour is changing this year, with 41 per cent of consumers reusing Christmas decorations rather than buying new ones and a further 26 per cent using a plastic reusable Christmas tree rather than buying a real tree.

“Whilst we all love to share gifts with the ones we love, the environmental challenges facing society aren’t put on pause during the festive period - if anything we should be even more aware as we go into the season that feeds our unhealthy relationship with consumption,” said Gemma Butler, marketing director and expert in sustainable marketing, CIM. “It’s clear from our research that consumers are increasingly conscious of the impact the festivities and its associated consumerism is having on the planet, and they’re expecting companies to be more transparent about it too.

“It’s time for brands to step up and rethink how we can celebrate the magic of Christmas without leaving a mountain of waste behind.”

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