QUEZON CITY, Philippines—Over 14,000 individuals, including youth organizations and online sellers, are demanding e-commerce giants Lazada and Shopee to adopt a zero-waste approach to enable a better normal in the industry.
The demand, part of a petition launched by Youth Strike for Climate Philippines last Nov 2020 in the web platform Bataris, was presented today in an online press conference in Quezon City. Youth Strike for Climate Philippines, Greenpeace Philippines, and returnable and reusable packaging provider JuanBag are challenging Lazada and Shopee to: (1) reveal data on waste estimates; (2) reduce current waste production by introducing reduction targets; and (3) redesign current systems by exploring reusable and returnable packaging and incentives for both buyers and sellers.
Youth Strike for Climate initiated the petition to call on Lazada and Shopee to integrate zero-waste systems into their businesses. While both companies have publicized efforts to implement more ‘eco-friendly’ practices, their plastic packaging spree continues.
Globally, the e-commerce industry has been growing at an exponential rate, and is now worth $4.89 trillion. In the Philippines, usage of e-commerce doubled during the pandemic, reflecting a 55% growth in 2020. Analysts further predict that the number of Filipinos using e-commerce will reach 55.8 million users by 2025. However, the industry’s windfall in profits has not been matched by substantial efforts to ensure the business model doesn’t harm the environment.
“During the Philippines 12.12 sale in 2020, Lazada doubled its sales figures compared to 2019, and Shopee sold 12 million items in the first 24 minutes,” said Chua. “These figures point to an astounding–and unsustainable–rise in plastic packaging. And yet, there’s no public data of exactly how much waste these companies produce. Neither are there any commitments whatsoever to reduce this. Filipino taxpayers–not Lazada or Shopee–pay for the cost of managing e-commerce waste. These companies need to come clean, take responsibility, and do their part to ensure their businesses do not continue to create pollution.”
The rise of online shopping during the pandemic shows that e-commerce is now part of the new normal. But while this may be the case, the groups maintain that companies need to do their part to ensure more sustainable business practices post-pandemic. By heeding the people’s call to reveal, reduce, and redesign, Lazada and Shopee can lead the way to providing Filipinos with a better normal e-commerce experience.
Aside from reducing plastic at the source, the groups also called on Lazada and Shopee to improve its delivery systems by adopting sustainable alternatives instead. “Reusable packaging is not only doable but is good for business as well,” said Rachelle Lacanlale, Founder of JuanBag. “If businesses shift their thinking from focusing on profit alone to prioritizing the needs of people and the planet, we can design and innovate new systems that don’t sacrifice the wellbeing of communities and the environment.”
Alongside the petition, the groups will transmit letters to the country offices of the two companies to initiate discussions on how both companies can reveal, reduce and redesign. The petition is still open and the groups are calling on all Filipinos, particularly e-commerce users, to add their voice to the growing demand to change e-commerce for the better.
Notes to editors:
 Access the petition at https://www.bataris.org.ph/petitions/redesign-plastic
 See the report E-ConomySEA 2020
 https://adobomagazine.com/philippine-news/insight-holiday-shopping-trends-during-lazadas-12-12-grand-christmas-sale/ ; https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/12/14/20/shopee-says-1212-sale-broke-records-with-12-million-items-sold-in-24-minutes
Communications Support Officer, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines
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