A Comparative Study of Environmental Impacts of Two Delivery Systems in the Business-to-Customer Book Retail Sector



China has the highest carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the world. In China, logistics accounts for a significant portion of the total energy use and CO2 emissions in business-to-customer (B2C) retailing. This study focuses on the environmental impacts of B2C delivery in China, focusing on the book retail industry. Mathematical models are proposed based on the practical operations of the “e-commerce networked delivery” (END) system and the “sustainable networked delivery” (SND) system. The energy consumption and CO2 emissions per book are then determined and compared for the two systems. Furthermore, we contrast the findings with those of similar studies conducted for other countries and provide explanations for the differences. The results show that (1) in general, in China, the SND system is better than the END system in terms of environmental impacts; (2) the END system in China generates fewer environmental impacts than those in the United States and the United Kingdom, while the SND system in China has greater environmental impacts than that in the United States; and (3) the wide use of vehicles such as electric bicycles that have low energy consumption rates contributes to the reduction of environmental impacts per book in both the END and SND systems in China. The limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are also discussed.