In an increasingly digitised world, e-commerce has experienced tremendous growth, becoming a driving force in the global economy. However, this boom has been accompanied by concerns about its impact on the environment. In response to this growing awareness, there is a need to adopt sustainable practices in ecommerce.
For businesses, incorporating sustainability into their online operations has become increasingly essential. This shift is about much more than selling products online. It is about creating a responsible business model that considers the environmental, social and economic impact at every stage of the purchasing and delivery process.
If you want to discover some keys to a more sustainable ecommerce, this is the article for you!
Consumers more aware of environmental impact
According to SendCloud’s “E-commerce 2023 Study”, for large companies, being environmentally friendly is no longer optional, it is mandatory. The demand for sustainable practices comes from both official sources and customers.
53% of European shoppers are concerned about the impact of online shopping and expect CO2-free delivery options. In addition, customers value recyclable packaging and expect less unnecessary packaging materials to be used.
However, despite the interest in sustainable delivery, most customers still expect shipping prices to remain stable, which can result in additional costs for sellers.
Benefits of implementing sustainability in ecommerce
Running a sustainable purchasing and delivery process, in addition to having a positive impact on the environment, can also have a positive impact on the business in the long term. Some of these benefits may include:
- Improved reputation: by adopting sustainable practices and demonstrating a commitment to the environment, you can enhance your brand reputation and differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Reduced operating costs: Sustainability helps to identify areas in which to reduce the consumption of certain resources, such as water and energy. By optimising these areas, you can reduce costs in the long term.
- One step ahead of regulations: by anticipating regulations that are gradually being implemented, you avoid penalties and negative repercussions on your brand image.
- Customer attraction: by implementing sustainable practices, it is possible to attract consumers who are concerned about environmental impact. These customers will be attracted to the brand and may become brand advocates.
6 keys to more sustainable ecommerce
Transforming an entire purchasing process towards sustainability is a significant investment for any business. However, small changes can achieve big results. Here are some of the aspects that can be improved in an online business.
1. Choosing sustainable suppliers
One of the first steps in incorporating sustainability into ecommerce is to establish partnerships with suppliers committed to sustainable practices. By selecting suppliers that follow green policies, you can ensure that products purchased and shipped meet environmental standards. In addition, transparency and commitment to sustainability can be encouraged throughout the supply chain.
2. Echo badge
Incorporating an eco-label into your brand’s corporate image is an effective strategy to highlight your commitment to sustainability. By incorporating this eco-label, the brand communicates its commitment and strengthens its reputation in terms of sustainability. In fact, 3 out of 4 users would value being able to spot and see the eco-label on sustainable online shops, according to the study “Sustainability in today’s e-commerce. The impact of our purchasing decision” by EAE Business School.
3. Eco-friendly packaging
Packaging is a key element in e-commerce and can generate a large amount of waste. Opting for recyclable, biodegradable and compostable materials for packages is essential. In addition, reducing the use of unnecessary packaging materials and optimising the size of packages helps to minimise environmental impact and associated costs. Returnable packaging is a very practical option to start being more sustainable in business packaging.
Bolsalea is a case in point. It is a Spanish company characterised by the use of natural, biodegradable and toxic-free materials. Companies such as Kiko or Tous have trusted the brand.
4. Sustainable transport
Logistics is an essential part of ecommerce and, at the same time, can generate a significant carbon footprint. It is important to look for sustainable transport options, such as the use of electric or hybrid vehicles, and to implement strategies to reduce CO2 emissions. Also, route optimisation and choosing logistics partners committed to sustainability are key actions.
MRW is a company recognised for its sustainable approach in the logistics sector. They have invested in low-emission vehicles and have implemented route optimisation strategies to reduce distance travelled and minimise CO2 emissions.
5. Promoting sustainable products
Ecommerce provides an excellent opportunity to promote sustainable products and raise consumer awareness of their importance. In addition, providing detailed information on the environmental characteristics of products allows customers to make informed choices.
6. Customer education
Customer education is key to driving online sustainability. Providing information on sustainable practices implemented, offering responsible consumption tips and encouraging product reuse and recycling are ways to engage customers in the cause. Rewards programmes can also be implemented to encourage consumers to make sustainable choices.
For example, Alibaba rewards consumers who engage in more sustainable behaviours. The programme launched by the brand allows users to see how they reduce their carbon footprint and share their sustainable actions to earn points. The aim is to encourage green choices in everyday life and motivate other brands to invest in sustainable initiatives.
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