Core to the FREEWHEEL mission is replacing last-mile cargo deliveries that would otherwise be done with fossil fuel powered vans or trucks.
That's why this research examining the environmental impact of local vs. online shopping is interesting. These folks in the U.K. looked at a variety of factors such as the geography of the stores and shoppers, the distribution method, the amount of goods purchased, etc. Their conclusion: online purchases have the edge, but it all depends.
Quote: "The relative carbon intensity of the different forms of retail distribution depends on their particular circumstances. Neither has an absolute environmental advantage. Some forms of conventional shopping behaviour emit less CO2 than some home delivery operations. On average, however, in the case of non-food purchases, the home delivery operation is likely to generate less CO2."
And, significantly: "This environmental advantage can be reinforced in various ways if online retailers and their carriers alter some of their current operating practices."
Perhaps one advantage would be carbon free delivery with FREEWHEEL . . .