Ecommerce businesses may not seem like they greatly impact the environment. Besides the few boxes shipped out each week to customers, what does an online store really have to do with being green? But the truth is that eCommerce businesses have a large carbon footprint.
According to evidence, buying things online may have a more negative environmental impact than driving to a store. This is because most eCommerce shipping involves air transportation, which has a large carbon footprint and often results in packaging waste. Add last-mile delivery to the mix, and you have an industry that’s not very sustainable.
So, how can you make your eCommerce brand more sustainable?
Use Green Shipping Methods
If you want to make your eCommerce brand more sustainable, you need to look closely at your shipping methods. Air shipping is one of the most carbon-intensive ways to transport goods, so avoid it whenever possible. But since eCommerce brands often have no physical store where customers can pick their orders, if you want to avoid using air shipping, consider using green shipping methods like ground transportation.
Ground shipping is more sustainable than air, and is also often cheaper, which can help you save on shipping costs. If you can’t avoid air shipping, look for ways to offset your carbon emissions.
Plenty of carbon offset programs available allow you to pay to offset the emissions from your air shipments. This includes investing in renewable energy projects or planting trees. Doing so will enable you to neutralize your impact and make your eCommerce brand more sustainable.
Use Recycled Packaging
How you pack your products can have a significant impact on the environment. If you’re using new packaging made from virgin materials, it’s time to switch to recycled options.
You can find recycled boxes, mailers, and packing peanuts made from recycled paper and plastic. Some shipping companies will even pick up your used packaging to recycle for you. The trick is to find sustainable packaging durable enough to protect your products in transit.
The good news is that plenty of sustainable packaging options are available, so you can find something that works for your business. This allows you to wow your clients with the kind of unboxing experience your packages bring without harming the environment.
Reduce Packaging Waste
Most businesses create more waste on their packaging than the actual product they sell. In other words, your packaging materials probably weigh more than the product itself.
This is a huge problem since this packaging waste often ends up in landfills where it takes years to decompose. The key to reducing packaging waste is using only what you need and nothing more. One way to do this is by shipping products without packing slips or other printed materials. If you must include a packing slip, consider sending it electronically rather than including a paper copy in each box.
Instead of packing peanuts, you can also use eco-friendly filler material in your packages. This includes options like cornstarch packing peanuts, which dissolve in water, or bamboo fiber packaging, which is biodegradable. These materials are better for the environment and can also be reused or recycled by your customers.
Choose the Right Shipping Partner
The shipping company you partner with can greatly impact your business’s carbon footprint. Suppose you’re working with a large, traditional shipping company. In that case, there’s a good chance they’re not doing much to reduce their impact on the environment.
Instead, look for a shipping partner that’s committed to sustainability. There are plenty of green shipping companies out there that use sustainable practices to minimize their environmental impact. These companies often use recycled materials in their packaging, carbon-neutral shipping methods, and green shipping software to streamline their operations.
Don’t forget to look for a shipping partner offering competitive rates and good customer service. After all, you want to make sure your customers are happy with the shipping experience you provide.
Only Ship Pertinent Documents That Require a Wet Signature
If you run an eCommerce business, chances are you don’t need to often ship hard copies of documents. These days, you can electronically sign most contracts and other agreements. This not only saves paper, but it’s also more convenient for everyone involved.
However, there are still businesses that want wet signatures on some documents. If this is the case, only ship the pertinent documents that require a signature. Additional pages or materials will increase your shipping costs and create unnecessary waste.
Don’t forget to hire a reputable contract delivery service to get your documents where they need to go quickly and efficiently. The right logistics partner will help you save time and money on your shipping operation. They also offer real-time tracking of your documents while protecting your business data enclosed on each page.
Making your eCommerce brand more sustainable doesn’t have to be difficult. By following the tips above, you can start reducing your environmental impact and making a positive difference. Not to mention, these changes will also save you money in the long run.