Youth and environmental groups expressed dismay over e-commerce giants Lazada’s and Shopee’s silence over calls to start reducing their plastic footprint.
On September 10, Greenpeace Philippines sent a letter to Lazada and Shopee amplifying the demands of 14,625 Filipinos who called on the companies to “reveal, reduce, and redesign” their plastic-heavy business.
The e-commerce companies, however, remained silent on the petition initiated by Youth Strike for Climate Philippines. Lazada acknowledged the letter, while Shopee ignored calls made by the organizers.
Jefferson Chua, Greenpeace Philippines campaigner, said the companies’ silence “will worsen the impacts of plastic pollution on communities’ health and environment.”
Data gathered by the pro-environment group show that usage of e-commerce doubled during the pandemic in the Philippines, boosting a 55% growth in their market value in 2020. Analysts predict that the number of Filipinos using e-commerce will reach 55.8 million users by 2025.
“With every sale they hold, Lazada and Shopee rack up record profits while leaving Filipinos to shoulder clean up for the tons of plastic packaging they caused,” said Chua in a statement.
“All we are asking for is a commitment for these companies to start reducing the plastic they use by working with sellers to review their plastic usage and implementing a business policy to halt the use of inessential plastic packaging,” he added.
“If they were genuinely concerned about sustainability, they would respond to these calls,” he added.
Chua said Lazada and Shopee should invest in sustainable solutions exhibited by small and medium enterprises that cater to the needs of consumers during the pandemic without causing permanent damages to the environment.
Sustainable MSMEs such as JuanBag, a youth-led enterprise, provide returnable and reusable packaging.
Carmela Adelantar, convenor of Youth Strike for Climate Philippines, said continuous promotion of unnecessary use of plastics will not just impact the climate and environment, but also the youth’s future.
“Plastics do not only harm marine life, but most importantly, the carbon emissions they create which are worsening climate change,” she said in a statement.
“Excessive plastic packaging in e-commerce contributes to that. If we don’t act, what happens to our future?” Adelantar added.
Coleen Salamat, EcoWaste Coalition campaigner, said the environment is “suffering in exchange for our convenience.”
“While we recognize the role e-commerce industries play during the pandemic, their lack of accountability and initiatives to be more sustainable is only worsening the plastic crisis,” said Salamat.