The dynamics of an e-commerce market and the associated environmental impacts from a bottom-up perspective using an agent-based model is explored. A conceptual meta-theory from psychology is adopted to form the behavioral rules of artificial consumers choosing different methods of buying a book, including conventional bookstores, e-commerce, and a proposed self-pick-up option. Given the energy and emissions savings that result from a shift to e-commerce from bookstore purchase, it appears that reductions in environmental impacts are relatively probable. Additionally, our results suggest that the shift to e-commerce is mainly due to the growth of Internet users, which ties energy and emissions savings to Internet penetration. Moreover, under any scenario, the energy and emissions savings will be provided by the introduction of the proposed self-pick-up option. Our model thus provides insights into market behaviors and related environmental impacts of the growing use of e-commerce systems at the retail level, and provides a basis for the development and implementation of more sustainable policies and practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2851-2857
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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