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The Rise Of Sustainable eCommerce: How To Make It Work For Your Business?


Malika Sanon

Senior Specialist @ Shiprocket

August 22, 2022

4 min read

Sustainability is not something that eCommerce business owners can ignore. The growing trend of environmental sustainability is humanity’s way of fighting capitalism’s destructive nature of the grow-or-die imperative. 

In eCommerce, the concept of sustainability keeps on changing from business to business and will become even more critical in the coming years. However, sustainability isn’t something that has become an overnight concept in the business world, it has long been a trend in eCommerce. 

Rise Of Sustainable eCommerce

 In a bid to successfully address increasing demands for sustainability from their consumers, online retailers have been pondering for some time now on topics like corporate social responsibility and eco-friendly approaches in the supply chain.

The Impact Of Growing eCommerce On The Environment 

According to the Sustainability Annual Trends report, “Sustainability indicates that e-commerce has experienced rapid growth in recent years and by doing so, this had an unprecedented environmental impact.”

It further said, “To put this into perspective, more than 2 billion tons of waste end up in landfills worldwide annually. All those cardboard boxes, plastic packing puffs, and Styrofoam peanuts have to be disposed of somewhere… and more often than not, that “somewhere” is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

It further added, “However, there is some hope left. For example, the sheer volume of waste produced by the supply-chain network and its dire impact on the environment has already rendered it necessary for eCommerce companies to rethink their practices and find sustainable solutions within the industry – most notably by adopting eco-friendly packaging.”

The recent trend also shows that many retailers have already given an ecological edge to their products and have entered the green business. When we talk about environmental friendliness, some online shops have already entered the world of sustainable business concepts. 

Online Shopping Can Actually Be Greener Than Traditional Retail 

Are you wondering how? Here’s how- with online shopping, a single truck, van or any vehicle can replace multiple car trips by multiple people to the stores. 

According to a report by the wirecutter, “ In most of the United States, almost every purchase means putting a vehicle on road-either on your own or a delivery company’s). If you give online retailers enough time to fully load or consolidate their trucks before they go on their delivery runs, the result is a significant overall drop in greenhouse-gas emissions compared with in-store shopping: One van delivering 50 packages is much more efficient than 50 people driving to the store.”

Environmentally Friendly Shipping Options 

Environmentally Friendly

According to a report, “86% of Germans would rather choose environmentally friendly shipping. However, for two-thirds of the respondents, shipping price is an important factor. Cost-cautions consumers see additional costs for environmentally friendly shipping as unfavourable and would rather opt for the standard “free shipping” option. On the other hand, more than one in five Germans is willing to pay more if it helps to protect the environment.”

It further said, “the surcharge, though, should not be more than 5%. Climate-neutral shipping solutions are offered by DHL GoGreen, DPD Total Zero, or GLS ThinkGreen, for example, with whom we are also working together.”

“Even though it is important to offer express delivery for some product categories, as an online retailer you should know that it is not ecological. By doing so, you show your customers that you are paying attention to this topic and thus additionally strengthen your brand,” it added.

Green eCommerce: Avoiding Packaging Waste 

Green eCommerce

It is not enough to only use sustainable and recyclable materials for packaging and opt for climate-neutral shipping options, eCommerce companies should optimise their waste management by eliminating packaging waste. 

A lot of online shoppers across the world already pay close attention to packaging and are extremely waste cautiously. Therefore, using renewable materials and reducing packaging waste to a minimum, is the new standard and brands need to address this if they wish to appeal to their consumers.

Many of us grew up with the terms “reduce, reuse, recycle” in our vocabulary. Nowadays, your business needs to reflect the same in your work/business. 

Not only to help the environment but also to increase brand loyalty among environmentally conscious customers. This can easily be achieved, for example, by using recycled material.

Shiprocket is a complete customer experience platform for SMEs, D2C retailers and social sellers. Deliver across 29000+ pin codes and 220+ countries at 3X faster speed. You can now grow your eCommerce business and reduce costs.

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