The already booming online trade is being further spurred on by the corona pandemic.
However, online orders have many downsides.
Now experts are calling for government intervention.
Munich - Online trading is booming - but where customers benefit from bargain days and free returns, the environment sometimes suffers.
On Monday, the
Advisory Council on Consumer
) particularly criticized the "
returns in online
" and presented solutions for more sustainable online
the Federal Ministry of
Consumer Protection (
called for "a takeover of responsibility by the economy, politics, but also the consumers themselves".
The Advisory Council suggests, among other things, that consumers should be obliged to assume the costs of “returns of non-defective products” - so far they have often paid nothing at all.
"Almost 60 percent of the companies would like to charge return shipping fees, but refrain from doing so for reasons of competition," explained the independent advisory committee of the BMJV.
The experts referred to a study by the University of
from 2019, according to which a minimum return fee of three euros would lead to 16 percent fewer returns.
Online retail: the downside of the returns boom
"Ordering with a few clicks from the comfort of your home and sending goods back free of charge without much effort is part of everyday consumer life for many more than ever," said Consumer Protection State Secretary
Christian Kastrop in
But this consumer behavior has "downsides that we have to face when you think of the returns boom, the resulting increase in traffic and the destruction of new goods".
In the opinion of the German Council of Economic Experts, “an open social debate” and more consumer education are needed.
For them it is "almost impossible" to get an overview of the complex national and international requirements, for example for raw material extraction and recycling, "and to find out under what conditions the
are manufactured and transported".
The experts also criticize the fact that sustainability aspects have so far mainly been found in environmental law and hardly in consumer law.
From their point of view, Germany faces the “Herculean task” of combining both areas.
Online trading: experts are calling for resource tax
With a view to the economy, for example, the experts are in favor of a so-called
on certain primary raw materials.
They also advocate the controversial introduction of a supply chain law: Legal standards for monitoring human rights and environmental standards along the supply chain also mean “a level playing field and greater legal security for all market participants”.