Running an ecommerce business can be greener than running a physical store – physical stores require a lot of energy to run compared to the low amount of energy needed to run online stores. However, the negative environmental impact left by online stores can still be high due to aspects such as delivery and packaging. If you’re interested in running an eco-friendly ecommerce business, here are some of the steps that you can take.
Choose green products
You should first assess the types of products that you’re selling. These could be products that you make yourself or they could be bought from suppliers – in either case, consider the manufacturing process behind them and the materials used to build them. If manufacturing creates a lot of emissions and the materials used are unsustainable/non-recyclable, you may want to make a change to your products.
If you make the products yourself, consider whether you can make the manufacturing process cleaner or whether you’re able to source greener raw materials to build the product with. If you buy your products from suppliers, consider whether you can switch to greener suppliers that are able to offer the same quality of product.
Use recyclable packaging
You should also consider the type of packaging that you use when delivering products to customers. Your packaging needs to protect the product from damage, but this doesn’t mean that you have to rely on non-recyclable plastic.
Consider filler options such as shredded tissue paper and corrugated corner protectors instead of relying on plastic bubble wrap and Styrofoam. Loose items can be kept in paper bags or small card boxes as opposed to plastic bags. If you do find that plastic is more efficient, make sure to use recyclable plastic and let customers know how they can recycle it.
Consider greener shipping options
The aspect of ecommerce that creates the most environmental damage is often shipping, however, by choosing the right delivery methods this environmental damage can be greatly reduced.
Many ecommerce businesses are reluctant to make changes in the fear that it will increase shipping costs, but you can often save money on International Shipping and save the planet at the same time. For instance, the likes of LCL shipping can be cheaper for many businesses while also being more eco-friendly.
Same-day and next-day delivery is often harder to make green. While many customers like the convenience of receiving a product the very next day, it can be worth promoting longer delivery options that are greener such as using an interstate truck instead of a plane. You may be able to reduce the delivery charge to encourage customers to use this option. Some companies even promote this option as ‘green delivery’ to make customers aware of the benefits.
Donate money to environmental causes
You may be able to offset any environmental damage that your company inflicts by pouring money into environmental causes such as paying to plant trees or donating money to recycling services. This is something that you can advertise to help attract customers – many modern consumers like to know that their purchase is having a positive impact on the world and it can be used as an extra selling point. You could even ask customers to donate extra money themselves alongside their purchase, giving customers an even more active role.