Following on from the coronavirus outbreak, the high street has seen a decline in its earnings, whereas online shopping is booming. It makes sense for retailers to capitalise on this movement and transition to e-commerce. Before doing so, they should consider the environmental implications this will have. Climate change is just as paramount an issue as the global pandemic, so company owners must formulate a plan to ensure their operations are as sustainable as possible.
So, how exactly might one go about making their e-commerce business eco-friendlier? We’ve written this article to provide some clarity and an outline of what exactly entrepreneurs need to do. Read on to take your first step in saving the planet.
The biggest way your e-commerce business can contribute to climate change is through the pollution generated by transport vehicles. For example, if your company is based in the United Kingdom and someone from Australia orders your product, the parcel will have to travel almost 9500 miles to reach the customer, which in turn releases an inordinate amount of pollution into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the higher the demand for your product, the worse impact your e-commerce will have on the earth. However, you can tackle this issue by firstly incorporating sustainable shipping into your business. Certain companies use wind power (a form of renewable energy) to ship supplies, while others provide an environmental ship index which identifies the best vessels for the environment. It’s worth coordinating your e-commerce with a sustainable delivery service to ensure you’re doing your part to help the environment.
Not only can the parcels for your e-commerce product have a detrimental impact on the environment, but also the packaging within these parcels. Most companies use plastic which is infamous for being non-biodegradable and having a toxic production process. Rather than wrapping your items with such materials, you should consider eco-friendly packaging instead. Corrugated bubble wrap is an example of this. It cushions whatever might be packed inside and is made entirely from recycled cardboard and post-industrial waste. There are also organic packaging products made from mushrooms and seaweed, which are robust and biodegradable. Investigate what eco-friendly packaging would be most suited to your e-commerce produce and go from there.
Every company should follow moral guidelines that are reflected in your leadership, your employees, your processes and your procedures. This is called your company conscience or brand ethos. If you want to make your e-commerce business eco-friendlier, it’s important to bring environmental issues to the forefront. Ensure your employees or suppliers are aware of their impact on the planet and create regulations. Stipulate on your company website and across your social media channels what your attitude towards climate change is to further assert your brand’s ethos. You’ll also attract the right kind of workforce to your business this way.
It’s essential to consider how the manufacturing and sourcing of your e-commerce product are impacting the environment. Are you a makeup brand who uses palm oil (one of the biggest contributors to deforestation in its production) as an ingredient? Do you how much pollution is released to create the furniture you sell online? You should investigate these things within your company and take steps to correct them. For example, are they alternative suppliers who are eco-friendlier than your current one? Can you create the same product with a more ethically sourced ingredient? These are worthwhile considerations.
If you want to make your e-commerce business eco-friendly, start by making climate change one of your company’s priorities. Don’t choose the easiest and cheapest route – invest in the planet by finding alternative solutions to your current proceedings.