The humongous growth of the eCommerce industry has simplified shopping across the world. With items being delivered at the front door, shopping for products has become uncomplicated and easy especially during the pandemic. However, this convenience has caused a threat to the environment.
Freight movement (13%) and packaging of goods (45%) by the eCommerce industry is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. According to research by the Environmental Defense Fund, the eCommerce industry will increase carbon emissions by 30% by the year 2030.
The only way forward to protect our environment is by adopting green eCommerce to run the eCommerce businesses.
What is Green ECommerce?
Let us now understand why eCommerce businesses must invest in sustainability.
How Green Ecommerce Can Help Businesses?
The risk of dramatic environmental impact has pushed many eCommerce businesses to adopt sustainable practices that benefit both the environment and the company's bottom line. 60% of companies believe that sustainability is a necessity and have devised a solid sustainability strategy for their businesses.
Here are some of the top reasons why eCommerce businesses should implement green commerce strategies in their companies.
- To have a positive impact on the environment by reducing their carbon footprint
- To meet the changing customer demands by aligning the brand values with that of the consumers'. In fact, 69% of consumers believe that sustainable packaging is the most important practice for businesses while 67% of consumers are focused on buying products that are recyclable.
- To increase process efficiency by lowering the water and energy consumption.
- To add value to the brand image and boost its competitive advantage.
Let us have a look at a few best practices eCommerce businesses must follow to meet consumer demands and environmental responsibilities.
4 Best Practices Ecommerce Brands Must Follow to Go Green
1. Balance Your Online Carbon Footprint
Although consuming information online has significantly reduced paper usage, it has given rise to additional carbon emissions and environmental pollution due to constant electronic gadget usage. Studies have revealed that an average website produces approximately 0.5 grams of CO2 per page view. This alarming number indicates that eCommerce businesses must leverage green IT solutions to maintain their carbon neutral status.
Here are some ways how businesses can reduce their carbon footprint.
- Opt for a green web hosting company that leverages renewable sources of energy in their servers and data centers.
- Optimize your website by minimizing the code to improve the page speed, removing the oversized images and compressing the existing ones, configuring accelerated mobile pages (AMP), and more.
- Install Sparq Search and Product Filters to provide quick product results to the customers thereby reducing the amount of time they spend on the page.
- Use eCommerce apps, such as One Tree Planted and Carbon Footprint on your Shopify website to make CSR initiatives easy for your business.
2. Streamline Supply Chain Operations
Every eCommerce business needs excellent supply chain operations. There is always a flow of raw materials and other goods from the suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and vendors which involves shipping and transportation, thereby impacting the environment. Hence, streamlining the supply chain operations is one of the most effective ways to reduce the environmental impact.
Follow these below-mentioned tactics to transform your supply chain process.
- Use sustainable raw materials and machinery in the production process to minimize the carbon emissions as well as the manufacturing costs.
- Partner with local suppliers to reduce the fuel consumption when raw materials or products are imported from other regions.
- Collaborate with green courier providers to ensure the shipping process is eco-friendly.
- Promote recycling and reusing of raw materials and ensure no products go as waste into landfills.
- Produce the right amount of products by leveraging data analysis and market research for forecasting consumer behavior. Avoid overspending on raw materials or overfilling the warehouses with finished goods. This will help you strategically manage your capital while reducing environmental impact as well.
3. Adopt Sustainable Packaging
Did you know that the product packaging contributes to CO2 emissions in large parts by adding large amounts of waste to our landfills and plastic production? In fact, eCommerce packaging contributes to nearly a third of solid waste in the USA. According to Canopy, a forest conservation group, 3 billion trees are pulped every year to produce 241 million tons of cartons for shipping purposes.
Using eco-friendly, recyclable packaging is the best way to reduce its impact on the environment. It contributes greatly to green eCommerce and sustainability.
Here are a few ways how eCommerce businesses can adopt sustainable packaging options.
- Reduce plastic usage as much as possible. Opt for green packaging made from bamboo, seaweed, mushroom, and other recycled materials.
- Use corrugated cardboards and recycled paper to make bags, boxes, cushioning, and more for packaging your products.
- Provide customers with incentives, such as store credits or immediate discounts if they bring in the plastic bottles for recycling.
- Minimize the number of packages by packing the items in an order together in a single shipment.
4. Choose Eco-friendly Delivery Options
Faster order deliveries attract more customers. One-day deliveries, one-hour deliveries, and more are adding to the carbon footprint as shipping generates carbon emissions that significantly affects our climate. Hence, eCommerce brands must take measures to educate the consumers about the impact of their delivery on the environment.
Implementing a shipping management strategy can help in minimizing the environmental impact. You can start by offering free shipping for no-rush delivery orders. You will be surprised to know that about 36% of consumers would willingly wait longer in order to have a free delivery. Further, encourage store pickups by offering products at lower prices to local customers as greener delivery alternatives.
Decrease the size of the packaging as efficiently as possible and reduce the waste generated. Leverage Ships In Own Container (SIOC) packaging technique wherein the shipment is delivered in its actual packaging rather than packing it in the brown box.
Green Ecommerce is better for the environment and your business. Analyze your existing business processes and chalk out detailed plans about implementing sustainable practices in your operations. Focus on making your eCommerce business more eco-friendly in the long run by following the tips we have mentioned in this post.