With the climate crisis looming large over our heads, sustainable living is no longer an option. It’s an urgent issue that applies to businesses as well.
The rapid increase of online retail sales has made ecommerce sustainability all the more relevant. The way brands do business online significantly impacts both our current condition and the future we’re investing in.
Global statistics also show that environmental impact is a priority among consumers. Specifically, online shoppers in the UK (around one-third), France (nearly half), and Metro China (nearly three-quarters) admit their willingness to pay more for eco-friendly products. This means that taking environmental responsibility can also help you attract customers who value sustainability in their online purchases.
Read on to know what it means to run a sustainable ecommerce platform and what eco-friendly business practices you can adopt for your online brand.
Excelling at storage and logistics is a huge must in running an online shop. You need to ensure the availability of your products along with a proper storage facility. This is necessary for keeping your supplies safe, secure, and accessible for delivery when required.
If you’re gunning to be sustainable, your storage method and environment should reflect that value. You can start by using LED lights, installing solar panels, and better electrical management to reduce your power consumption.
The material transportation process produces significant carbon emissions. Parcel and freight shipping are estimated to generate 25 million tons of CO2 by the end of the decade. Reducing the distance from where you get your supplies helps lessen your carbon footprint.
Look for local suppliers near your area whenever possible. Apart from supporting local enterprises, you’re not only reducing your carbon emissions but your transportation costs as well. You’ll also be able to build relationships with your suppliers, which can help you better understand how your materials are produced.
Non-recyclable and excess packaging is among the most common reasons for increased commercial waste. This makes it necessary to implement sustainable ecommerce packaging.
There have been several packaging innovations, such as low minimum order quantities. However, online brands often go into status quo packaging such as bubble wraps and plastic mailer bags.
Start with a packaging audit to eliminate unnecessary layers and switch to greener alternatives. For instance, recyclable tissue paper is a great substitute for wrapping or cushioning instead of bubble wraps. Likewise, compostable or recycled mailers are a more sustainable option.
If there’s any environmental harm that’s largely contributed to retailers, it’s the single-use plastic. If you’re committed to working towards sustainability, this is the first huge step you can take. Find ways to eliminate or reduce their use throughout the supply chain.
Here are some things you can do:
A recent survey suggests that 91% of ecommerce consumers want sustainable shipping options at checkout. Most of them are also open to paying 10% extra to avail of such options.
This is the nudge you need to look for green shipping programmes offered by most shipping companies. Apart from this, you can also prioritise sustainability in products and processes as part of your shipment planning.
For instance, smarter vehicle assignments and strategic warehouse locations significantly cut down emissions. Look into your last-mile delivery options, which usually account for a big chunk of each shipment’s carbon footprint.
Your products’ end-of-life is among the most crucial aspects that you should take into consideration. This translates to doing a thorough review of the long-term consequences of the tearing, wearing, or disposing of these products.
While it’s an often-neglected part, it makes a lot of sense to think about it from the get-go. This makes it easier for you to work towards long-term sustainability goals as a brand. Research more about your products’ life cycle and explore how you can prolong their quality life span.
Sustainability doesn’t only apply to your products but also to how your business functions.
It’s important to be transparent with your objective and effectively communicate the same to all stakeholders. This includes your workforce, management, and the departments outside of your research and production teams. It’s even more essential to advocate for this value to your customers.
Some of the measures you can take to reduce office waste include implementing recycling policies and maximising the use of e-documents. Presenting a remote work option for your employees also lessens transportation emissions massively.
It’s not enough to switch to paper bags from the usual plastic packaging and bask in the glory of being “eco-friendly.” Sustainability is a long-term commitment. And you don’t have to instantly strip your brand of everything unsustainable either. It’s a process – take a few steps at a time.
These are surefire ways to help minimise your carbon footprint and get you started right on your sustainability journey. Now that you’re taking strides towards contributing to a healthier environment, what’s next for your ecommerce?
Get more people to know about your sustainability agenda with a strengthened online presence. While it helps to run paid ads on various online channels, nothing beats a good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy to get you on Google’s coveted first page. This helps drive massive traffic to your website and ramp up your revenue.