Bol.com has taken various measures in 2021 to further reduce its own CO2 emissions and to make a social contribution. Jori Ebskamp, lead CSR & sustainability at bol.com: “As one of the largest retail tech platforms in the Netherlands and Belgium, we are at the heart of society and we have the opportunity to make an impact on our environment. We do this by reducing our emissions every year, expanding the sustainable range and developing and supporting various social initiatives.” In 2021, bol.com had 12 million customers and 47,000 local entrepreneurs selling via the platform.
For example, Bol.com opened new pick-up points in 2021 so that fewer vans must enter the residential area. Bol.com is also packing articles smarter with the help of the new multi-packing machine. Better custom packaging means: smaller packages, less packaging material, and as little empty air as possible. As a result, the space in means of transport is better utilized and fewer movements are required to deliver the same number of articles. And if an item’s own packaging is sturdy enough, bol.com will no longer pack that item at all. Bol.com wants to make it easier for consumers to make more sustainable choices. The platform therefore offered a more sustainable alternative in 62 percent of the more than 8,000 product categories at the end of 2021.
In 2021 bol.com launched the ‘bol.com bollebozen’. An initiative with which bol.com contributes to creating equal opportunities for children in the Netherlands and Belgium. By conveying and stimulating the pleasure of reading and stories in various ways. But also, by helping children develop their digital skills.
Below is an overview of the sustainable initiatives and bollebozen activities that bol.com has realized in 2021, divided into three pillars.
Logistics & environment
- Multi-packing machine: bol.com started using a new multi-packing machine in 2021. This machine can custom pack orders of multiple items of different shapes and sizes together. The device scans the dimensions of the articles and folds one cardboard box around it. It is the first machine worldwide that can process such a diverse range (34 million different articles) as that of bol.com. Thanks to this machine, more than 20 percent less air is transported.
- Without outer box: If the original packaging of the item is sturdy enough, bol.com will ship packages without an outer box. In 2021, bol.com sent approximately 2.8 million packages without the cardboard shipping box.
- New pick-up points: In 2021, bol.com opened 90 new bol.com pick-up points, meaning fewer vans will have to enter residential areas and less CO2 will be emitted. At the end of 2021, bol.com had a total of 7,278 collection points in the Netherlands and Belgium, in Albert Heijn and Delhaize stores as well as at PostNL and bpost.
- The Kartonvreter: In order to do something about the cardboard waste on the street – which is especially visible around the holidays – and to create more awareness for tackling this problem, bol.com, in collaboration with the municipality of Amsterdam, has launched the Kartonvreter. A converted garbage truck that collected as much cardboard as possible in Amsterdam, to prevent it from ending up on the street and making it no longer suitable for recycling.
- Podcast ECO-merce: com launched the six-part podcast series ‘ECO-merce’ about the world of e-commerce. In each episode, a specific part of the chain is discussed: from the production of articles to delivery to the customer. This makes it clear where the challenges lie and what opportunities there are to turn e-commerce into a sustainable system.
Shop & assortment
- More sustainable alternative: In 2020, bol.com offered a more sustainable alternative in 34 percent of the more than 8,000 product categories, from children’s clothing to personal care products. By the end of 2021, this has grown to 62 percent of the categories.
- More sustainable choice label: To help customers make a more sustainable choice, a decision tree has been created in collaboration with Milieu Centraal for a number of categories, such as personal care. The decision tree clarifies why one product within the category is a more sustainable choice than another. More sustainable items can be recognised by the more sustainable choice label, which tells what a more sustainable choice in terms of environment, people and society within product groups is.
- More sustainable range: The platform includes 11,000 different items made from recycled materials (by 2020: 6,000) and more than 14,000 different organic items (by 2020: 12,000). All these items fall under the more sustainable choice label. This also includes 9,000 items from companies authorised to carry the B Corp certificate (in 2020: 3,500). The B Corp certificate is granted to companies that have people, the environment and society at heart in addition to profit.
People & society
- Launch bol.com bollebozen: In 2021, bol.com launched the ‘bol.com bollebozen’. An initiative with which bol.com contributes to creating equal opportunities for children in the Netherlands and Belgium. By conveying and stimulating the pleasure of reading and stories through numerous activities. But also by helping children develop their digital skills. bol.com bollebozen has committed itself in the following ways:
- Grote Dolfje Weerwolfje Leesquiz: In 2021, bol.com bollebozen donated 45,000 ‘Grote Dolfje Weerwolfje Leesquizen’ to more than 11,000 primary schools in the Netherlands and Belgium. With this quiz, children can work on their language development in a playful way. This was especially important during corona times, because many children had fallen behind in language because they were temporarily unable to go to school.
- Letterpret: To help children maintain their reading level during the summer holidays, bol.com bollebozen has released two activity books called ‘Letterpret!’. One for children aged 4 to 6 and one for children aged 7 to 9. With these books full of familiar characters, stories and activities, children are engaged in language in a fun way. To make the books available to every child, bol.com bollebozen donated a do-it-yourself book to Stichting Jarige Job in the Netherlands and Feestvarken (non-profit association) in Belgium for every copy sold. A total of 23,000 books were donated last year.
- Donation of school supplies: The Children of the Food Bank Foundation, the Belgian Federation of Food Banks and bol.com bollebozen distributed 8,000 bol.com gift cards to children growing up in poverty via the food banks in the Netherlands and Belgium. This allowed them to order free school supplies from bol.com in the run-up to the new school year.
- Robot Playground: RobotWise and bol.com bollebozen organized a Robot Playground for Utrecht primary school students with fewer opportunities. Sixteen children between the ages of 9 and 12 were invited to the bol.com headquarters for this three-day autumn camp, where they were encouraged to develop their digital skills through all kinds of educational assignments and games with robots.
- BoekieClub: Due to the tightened corona measures, many children spent extra time at home during the Christmas holidays. To make the lockdown a bit more pleasant for both children and parents, bol.com bollebozen launched the ‘BoekieClub’, a digital book club for children of different ages. On the platform, children could read ebooks and listen to stories for 1 cent each for three weeks.
- Donation of iPads: More and more schools for primary and secondary education want to use tablets during lessons. In this way, they teach children digital skills from an early age. But not every family has the means to buy a tablet for their child, while it is important that they have the same opportunities as their classmates. com bollebozen has therefore made a financial donation to the Children of the Food Bank Foundation to give children who grow up in poverty in the Netherlands an iPad.
- Bollebozenkalender: bol.com employees could dedicate themselves at various times during the year to helping children in the Netherlands and Belgium develop their language and digital skills. They did this through volunteer activities that bol.com organized together with partner Stichting NL Cares. An overview of the activities has been brought together in one volunteer calendar: the Bollebozenkalender. In 2021 there were 17 volunteer activities. These activities often took place at primary schools and consisted, for example, of building their own app or writing stories about future dreams together.
For more information: duurzaamheid.bol.com