Accelerating sustainability across the e-commerce chain

The Econnections programme was launched in January 2022 and the first pilot projects for seven scale-ups have now been selected. Why was PostNL among the first to join Econnections?

Liesbeth Kaashoek, PostNL’s Parcels and Logistics Director, explains: “We believe in going green together and in open innovation to make a real difference. E-commerce continues to grow and we want to help our customers to keep growing. That said, if we do nothing, our emissions will grow just as fast. PostNL is looking to drive sustainable e-commerce across the Benelux region. Which is why we’ve teamed up with other major players to join forces with smaller, young companies. Together, we can help accelerate sustainability across the e-commerce chain and help young green companies to grow. A real win-win.”

Promising pilots

“Econnections collaborates with seven carefully selected scale-ups. The selected pilot projects are looking very promising and we’re really happy to provide expertise, investment and networks to help these players grow further and together take steps to make e-commerce more sustainable.”

Econnections: how it works

These scale-up companies each offer proven solutions that match the challenges facing one of these partners. Solutions that help companies and consumers to make more sustainable choices, for instance, to enable emission-free delivery of parcels, create sustainable packaging or extend product life cycles. All these pilot projects address challenges across the e-commerce supply chain, from manufacturers to online retailers, parcel deliverers and consumers, and including inventory management, packaging, shipping and returns.

More on pilots

The scale-ups will get stuck into a series of real-world projects at partners bol.com, IKEA Netherlands and PostNL. Technology and innovation leaders Deloitte, Google Cloud and Mollie are committing their expertise in growth strategy, technology, and implementation and upscaling of innovations.

  • Chargetrip optimises route planning for electric vehicles (EVs), facilitating product deliveries in the best possible and most sustainable way.
  • Returnless works to reduce product returns by making their processing more efficient.
  • Optiply’s integrated AI solution is being tested to optimise inventories and product top-ups for e-commerce customers.
  • Greenplan’s planning software is being trialled to help improve planning performance with the aim of reducing the number of kilometres driven, and so also carbon emissions.
  • One key way to reduce a company’s environmental footprint is to cut plastic polybag packaging, which is often used for external packaging when sending products. PlasticFri provides a sustainable alternative.
  • Drop&Loop is searching for solutions to reduce textile waste.
  • Manyfolds is focusing its efforts on a tailored packaging solution for fragile articles to help reduce damage and returns.

The partner organisations are helping these new green scale-ups to grow, and so accelerate sustainability across the entire e-commerce chain.

About Econnections

The Econnections programme is aimed at young companies that are working on sustainable innovations for the entire e-commerce chain: from producers and online retailers to parcel deliverers and consumers. The programme breaks down into two parts. First is the Growth Accelerator, with participating companies receiving professional support in various areas in order to grow their businesses. Secondly, their ideas are converted into real-world pilot projects and prepared for long-term collaboration with one of the programme partners. Check out the Econnections website.