During the pandemic, e-commerce became a critical source for consumers. Just in 2020 alone, e-commerce retail sales worldwide totaled up to $4.28 trillion US dollars.
This heavy reliance on e-commerce has changed consumers’ habits permanently, with online shopping becoming one of the most popular and preferred ways to find and purchase products and services.
But for some customers, the pandemic has shed light on another issue: the environment.
Younger consumers are more concerned with companies’ environmental impact on the world, especially if their process leaves a significant carbon footprint.
How does this affect their decision making when shopping, and what can brands do to label themselves as a more eco-friendly business? Is e-commerce even environmentally friendly? We’ve laid it all out for you below:
Companies becoming more eco-friendly
Many large and well-known e-commerce companies have already made the initiative to promote and practice more “greener” methods and practices. Here are some sustainable e-commerce brands you probably know:
Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, committed $10 billion dollars via his environmental charity — the Bezos Earth Fund — to help scientists, activists and non-governmental organizations accelerate their efforts.
The e-commerce giant itself has also supported green commerce for years now, recently taking action by purchasing over 100,000 electric delivery vans. The company’s goal is to become completely carbon neutral by 2040.
Multinational e-commerce company Shopify announced it was buying 15,000 metric tons of carbon offsets from direct air capture companies, which captures carbon in the air with a chemical process that stores it in the ground.
Shopify has also offset its emissions and is making important strides to lessen its carbon footprint, primarily through renewable energy.
Green e-commerce on the rise
There’s increasing evidence that shows consumers are more aware of their shopping impact on the environment. One Wunderman Thompson survey found that 85% of Gen Z consumers think a brand is more than just profit, and that they should take initiative to make people’s lives better.
This number is guaranteed to grow as more younger consumers begin to now prioritize a brand’s ethics before making a purchase.
For businesses and retailers, this means enforcing greener methods like:
- Ethical sourcing
- Suitable packaging
- Recycled containers
- Deposit and return schemes
- Low carbon delivery
All of these are critical to implement since newer generations of shoppers will soon become the majority.
Customers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental importance of eco-friendly products and goods, and now expect brands to follow suit to make their operations and products more green.
When consumers make purchases from eco-friendly e-commerce, they feel rewarded knowing that they’re doing something good for the planet and are likely to become repeat customers.
3 steps to an eco-friendly business
If you’re interested in building a green commerce model, review these tips on how to be an eco-friendly business.
Pay attention to your supply chain
Around 95% of your business’s emissions logically come from its supply chain. One easy method is to ask your suppliers to determine the carbon footprint your products are creating.
This is good for two reasons: One, it shows that you are taking measures to record your environmental impact and two, offers a significant comparison between suppliers.
Provide a sustainable shipping method
Since not all purchases need to be sent out immediately, offering a slower and more sustainable delivery option is a simple tactic to showcase that you care about green consumers’ values.
Another option is to allow customers to bundle their multiple purchases into just one single delivery.
Convert to renewable energy
While a pricer option, this is one of the most straightforward and easiest ways to cut down on the amount of harmful carbon emissions that your business produces.
Making the change to green commerce
It’s important to remember that small changes make big impacts.
Consumers care about the environment, and taking the initiative to recognize that by implementing a green business model for e-commerce can result in even more consumer loyalty and an overall positive reputation. Thus, for business owners, creating a sustainable business model is an overall beneficial option.
Want to make your business more eco-friendly? Our digital marketing experts can develop a plan to “green” your business! Let’s talk!