Toys R Us CEO: Online Shopping is "Very Ungreen"

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Toys R Us CEO: Online Shopping is "Very Ungreen"


Toys R Us boss Jerry Storch says that online shopping is actually quite bad for the environment.

It's hard to overstate the benefits of online shopping: No parking lot Thunderdome, no horrid Christmas music, no million-mom mosh pit for the latest forgettable toy tie-in to crawl out of Mattel's marketing department, and with so many online retailers offering free shipping over the holidays, it's actually cheaper to stay in your chair and turn UPS into your own personal earth-toned Santa Claus.

But there's a downside, according to Toys R Us Chief Executive Jerry Storch, and that downside is that every time you click your mouse, a baby seal dies. "It's very ungreen," Storch told the Financial Times. "[People are] just so enraptured with how cool it is that they can order anything and get it brought to their home that they aren't thinking about the carbon footprint of that."

Storch's position contrasts rather dramatically with that of Amazon, which states [http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=13786331] unequivocally that "online shopping is inherently more environmentally friendly than traditional retailing." There are enough variables in the home delivery model vs. conventional shopping that there's "not a simple answer," according to Environmental Defense Fund Senior Manager Jason Mathers, who added, "There are certain advantages the e-commerce system could have, but doesn't necessarily have."

Storch acknowledged that Toys R Us is doing significant amounts of online business itself, selling $1 billion of production over the internet last year, and that customers want the convenience of shopping from home. But he also predicted that consumer attitudes will change as people become aware of the real costs of online shopping.

"People are going to start realizing, wait, I'm already ... taking my children to school," he said. "The store is right there. I can just pick it up."

Source: Financial Times [http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/5ca18bd0-3032-11e2-a040-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2ChNOIp5n]


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Tahaneira

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Feb 1, 2011
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Okay. Now say that again, only this time use reasons. Unless he lists evidence in the source article.
 

sethisjimmy

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May 22, 2009
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Yep, he doesn't give any support to his argument. What makes buying one plastic non-biodegradable toy online less green than buying another plastic non-biodegradable toy from the store?
 

Legion

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Oct 2, 2008
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If a street of ten people went to the shops and bought things, that'd be ten cars on the road.

If those ten people all ordered online then it'd be a single vehicle driving to drop the packages off.

A small example, but the gist of it is that on average, people going to the shops themselves means more vehicles on the road than if they get delivered. As a single van/lorry/whatever can deliver to a whole area, whereas individuals shopping would all take their own transport.
 

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Most consumers aren't driving big, diesel-sucking UPS trucks. Individual product deliveries eat up a lot more fuel, spew a lot more carbon, etc., than picking up all your shit in one or two trips to the mall. Carbon footprint doubles or triples if the UPS guy has to make two or three trips to deliver your shit. You're probably driving past the mall anyway, so why not nip it and pick up your shit rather than having a delivery company make extra, unnecessary trips?

I'm not saying he's right, but I don't think he's quite so obviously wrong either.
 

Nihlus2

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Feb 8, 2011
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Why yes, I would agree with you.

Because taking that car to the shop, standing in queue for x amount of time, fighting over a limited amount of the product - clearly beats clicking a few times and bypassing all of that buisness.

On a more serious note though.

It depends very much on the place you're ordering this from, and where it is supposed to be dropped off at. And also what product/products we are talking about.

Oversimplifying the issue quite a bit.

Although he will no doubt regret the part about "just picking it up", once the christmas sales sets in. Hell hath no fury like a bunch of parents fighting over "the best selling toy".
 

rodneyy

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Sep 10, 2008
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but then add in the cost of running a massive building to show off all the toys and that takes it back the other way, and wile a less tangable effect, with the limited stock any shop will have if you do not find something that would suit as a present you are shunted off somewhere else and maybe you end up buying something less well suited to the recipent. is a slight bias in energy costs (assuming he is correct and it all does not even out) better or worse than buying something poitinlessly and all the wasted energy in the productions of that gift
 

Tsaba

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Oct 6, 2009
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Andy Chalk said:
Most consumers aren't driving big, diesel-sucking UPS trucks. Individual product deliveries eat up a lot more fuel, spew a lot more carbon, etc., than picking up all your shit in one or two trips to the mall. Carbon footprint doubles or triples if the UPS guy has to make two or three trips to deliver your shit. You're probably driving past the mall anyway, so why not nip it and pick up your shit rather than having a delivery company make extra, unnecessary trips?

I'm not saying he's right, but I don't think he's quite so obviously wrong either.
I'll say he's wrong,
http://gas2.org/2008/10/28/ups-is-first-in-delivery-industry-to-test-hydraulic-hybrids/

The price of gas is forcing companies to improve fuel efficiency and find better ways to provide service.

Those big, nasty, dirty trucks also have to make deliveries to all those ToysRus's and other stores at your local mall.
 

Vanquishuer

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Mar 5, 2009
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I dont drive, and all the stores I like to shop at are a few miles away; I cant just swing by there and pick it up. Also imagine how much of the goddamn environment im saving by not buying gas!
 

Azuaron

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Do you know how you can tell, unquestionably, that this guy is wrong?

Online shopping is typically cheaper.

"But wait," you might say, "green stuff is always more expensive than non-green stuff!" And this is typically true. But, you're buying the same stuff, it's just that the delivery method is different.

So, when examining the delivery methods, what are the differences?

Amazon needs giant warehouses. Toys R Us needs giant warehouses and giant stores.

Amazon needs to ship products from manufacturers to warehouses to customers. Toys R Us needs to ship products from manufacturers to warehouses to stores, and then customers have to come to the stores (furthering the price discrepancy for the customer, since they need to pay more in gas).

Since we're talking about distribution and not, say, manufacturing, the cost is directly related to how green it is. If online shopping required more gas than meatspace shopping, then the prices would reflect that. If online shopping required more construction (which is very un-green) than meatspace shopping, then the prices would reflect that.

Toys R Us is never going to get around the fact that it is vastly more green to have a warehouse than a retail store, and they have to have both. That's pretty severely anti-green.
 

Pyrian

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"People are going to start realizing, wait, I'm already ... taking my children to school," he said. "The store is right there. I can just pick it up."
That's fine if you're Starbucks and the storefront IS right there. Around these parts, when you can find a Toys R Us at all, it's buried in business commercial district surrounded by an industrial district that's always a long drive away and doesn't feel safe to park your car.
 

Screamarie

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Considering the multiple factors of both online and retail shopping I'm gonna bet that in the long run, doesn't matter much either way.

More than that, I gave up believing this malarkey that the human race is such an amazing force that our pointless daily machinations has an extreme effect on whether the world continues turning every single day.

Yes, it's best to be green, we shouldn't take for granted what we have...at the same time, we're a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of pollution put in the air by the very Earth itself.

I think it's safe to continue online shopping.
 

Zombie_Moogle

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Dec 25, 2008
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1 diesel/potentially hybrid delivery van dropping off 50 packages VS. 50 gas cars/trucks/SUV's driving to and from a store to pick up 1 package apiece.

Math. Love it
 

thesilentman

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Jun 14, 2012
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Zombie_Moogle said:
1 diesel/potentially hybrid delivery van dropping off 50 packages VS. 50 gas cars/trucks/SUV's driving to and from a store to pick up 1 package apiece.

Math. Love it
Unfortunately, a lot of people fail at math even when they shouldn't.

OT- Online shopping is very ungreen? No, Mr. CEO. And considering that most of the online stores provide a damned good deal, you know, better than the deals that your store offers, I'll stick to Amazon, alright?

And exactly why the people with the lowest credibility find problems with today's systems? Also, why are retail prices still high? It's like most people are idiots and don't realize that their wallet is being sucked dry.
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Ten deliveries to your home vs. one trip to the mall.

And the trouble with hybrid trucks: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-43141560/ups-is-the-green-truck-leader---but-the-market-is-stalled/

From a more practical perspective, Timothy Kenyon of GfK said people will be more likely to return to conventional shopping once they're given a sufficient financial incentive to do so. Will free shipping last forever - and what happens when it's no longer an option?
 

Fursnake

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Jun 18, 2009
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I wager he will say something completely different should online sales drop. If he feels negatively towards online sales why doesn't Toys R' Us get more "green" and cease online sales...oh, wait.

I think he is wrong; online sales are green, just not in the way he is meaning. $$$$$$$$$$$$$ etc.

Ultimately he just sounds like a wanker complaining about the very thing his company rakes in cash with.
 

Leon's Hell

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Dec 20, 2009
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Fursnake said:
I wager he will say something completely different should online sales drop. If he feels negatively towards online sales why doesn't Toys R' Us get more "green" and cease online sales...oh, wait.

I think he is wrong; online sales are green, just not in the way he is meaning. $$$$$$$$$$$$$ etc.

Ultimately he just sounds like a wanker complaining about the very thing his company rakes in cash with.
I don't think that's quite true. I would suspect that he is saying this because people don't make impulse purchases online like they would in a store. Generally if you are shopping online you are looking for one thing or you use the search bar. You don't have to walk through isles worth of stuff that you didn't know you wanted when online.

Also there is no time constraint when you shop online. When in a store you think that you want to get out as soon as possible or you might have an appointment to go to. With online shopping you can take your time and over thinking purchases often leads to not making that purchase in the first place.
 

LordLundar

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He could have an argument and it could make or break the entire debate...

If he actually supplied proof what he was saying.

He honestly sounds like the scriptwriter for Romney/Ryan regarding their economic plan. You know, they have a plan, it's a wonderful plan, but they're the only two people in the world who know what it is.

Ever get the feeling he tried for the debate club in school and got laughed out?