Old is Bold: OLX India reduces carbon footprint by preventing release of 8 mt of CO2

Virendra Pandit | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

Screenshot of OLX India website

We do our environment a favour by  not  buying a new gadget in a hurry and allowing the one we have to run its full lifecycle. Those buying and selling on OLX India, for instance, have unintentionally reduced their carbon footprint by eight million tonnes (mt) of carbon dioxide in a year.

To calculate the carbon footprint impact, OLX India partnered with Chennai-based Arun Krishnamurthy, Founder, Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI), an NGO.

“We expect a 30 per cent CAGR in the next two years and would reduce the carbon footprint correspondingly,” Irwin Preet Singh Anand, Chief Operating Officer, OLX India, told  BusinessLine  on the eve of World Environment Day (June 5).

India is global host to the UN-sponsored World Environment Day 2018 with the theme 'Beat Plastic Pollution'. A report by EFI and OLX estimated that transactions on OLX India in FY 2017-18 saved carbon footprints equivalent to half of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted annually by India’s aviation sector in 2013-14.

The CO2 emission saved by OLX transactions increased from 3.3 million tonnes (mt) in 2015-16 to 6.6 mt in 2016-17. In 2017-18, about 15 million transactions across 11 categories saved 8 mt of CO2 emissions, equivalent to a carbon footprint of 1.3 million kg of plastic shopping bags.  

The increase in carbon footprint is an outcome of the growing transactions and acceptability of trading pre-owned goods on the platform across categories.   

For the calculation of carbon emission, all stages in the lifecycle of a product, from raw material procurement till it reaches the user, were taken into account for 11 product categories. The categories of goods covered in the report include cars, mobiles, refrigerators, televisions, computers, laptops, sofas, tablets, cameras, books and clothes. Other key OLX product categories such as sports equipment, musical instruments, fashion accessories, some furniture items, as well as real estate, and jobs were not included in this report.

Anand said buying and selling pre-owned items is an easy way to counterbalance rising consumerism and impulse purchase of unwanted items.

According to the report, the Delhi Metro project saved as much CO2, as transactions of TVs, refrigerators and sofas on OLX. Ten wind turbines would have emitted as much carbon dioxide that transactions of pre-owned computers on OLX have saved.  Forty kg of CO2 is emitted in the production of each mobile phone. And each time a used car is bought or sold on OLX, 2,013 kg of carbon dioxide is saved.

With a user base of 40 million, OLX India is one of the largest Internet sites in India. With 15 million transactions per annum, it prevents production of new gadgets and other items, thus saving the environment. Cars, phones, electronic and personal goods are among the dozen major product categories for these transactions, he said.

Anand said OLX India has 4.4 million listings per month. “Ninety per cent of our traffic comes from apps and mobile webs."  Reselling, reusing and recycling a product can actually help at least five more users over the remaining life of the product, Anand said.

Carbon footprint is the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation, or community.

How much is 8 mt of carbon dioxide? It is equivalent to carbon dioxide emissions that over 12 million teak trees, which are widely chopped down for their premium wood, absorb in their entire lifetime.


Published on June 04, 2018
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