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The Growing Popularity of Sustainability in Ecommerce


In the past couple of years, sustainability has become more than just a trend. online retailers have been working on topics like ecology and sustainability, which have a strong influence on the future and are increasingly being demanded by consumers. But how environmentally conscious is your online shop? And what does sustainability have to do with e-commerce – and you?

With the development of technology, we can now order anything online and it gets shipped to us within 24 hours sometimes. But, the product is wrapped in layers and layers of plastic and styrofoam which is not ecologically right. Adding to this mix is a trend toward recurring deliveries. For items that are more predictable, consumers are increasingly willing to trust automatic refills, where one request results in ongoing fulfillment. 

We are taking a deep dive into the world of sustainable e-commerce. Why your brand may want to more adopt more sustainable practices and some suggested changes you can make to improve your brand’s carbon footprint. 


What exactly is sustainability?

Sustainability ‘focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars: economic, environmental and social. Sustainability often means taking the path of less convenience. Transforming global practices into sustainable ones may well represent one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century.


Steps e-commerce businesses can take to be more sustainable

1. Update your brand ethos - Storytelling is a huge part of brand building and your brand ethos tells your customer who you are. As an e-commerce company, your brand should ethos should reflect on your website as well as your social media. As a sustainable brand, you should focus on the steps that you’ve taken to be sustainable on your e-shop and social media platforms.

2. Sustainable shipping - The demand for fast shipping in eCommerce has never been higher and with so many packages being shipped every day, sustainable shipping is a must. When the package is moved from a fulfillment center to a home address is when the environmental impact is the highest. You can start by using recyclable packaging, but when it comes to shipping, you can investigate eco-friendly programs from major carriers like FedEx, UPS, and USPS that can offer paperless invoicing and other green options.

3. Reducing Packaging - Packaging waste has been one of the top concerns of conscious shoppers who are taken up a sustainable route. According to data from First Insight (modeled through Statista) nearly half of people think Amazon shipments include excess packaging. Making efforts to reduce packaging waste can have a significant impact on your brand’s carbon footprint.

4. Create recycling policies - Brands can work towards using recyclable packaging as compared to traditional plastic packaging. Using cardboard boxes and mailers that are recyclable and making the process of recycling easier for customers, businesses can dramatically reduce the amount of waste they produce.

5. Reducing energy waste - Sustainability is not just the product and how it is delivered but also how it is made. Brands can consciously word towards reducing energy waste. Making simple changes such as turning off equipment when not in use, investing in low energy lighting and reducing the temperature in the office can significantly lower energy bills.

It is clear that consumers are becoming more aware of what their shopping habits are doing to the world around them. Ecommerce retailers are reacting, with the rise of brands being more transparent in the way they work and ensuring their processes and methods are more sustainable.

If you are an online retailer, it is crucial you look carefully at your own practices, or run the risk of being left behind by the new wave of environmentally-savvy shoppers.

But brands, business owners and customers must work together to take responsibility for the impact our shopping habits are having on the world and environment. Small steps can make a big difference.

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-04-08

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