If there’s one reality that has become apparent after 2020, then it’s how the global pandemic managed to speed up the shift toward the digital world, wherein most were forced out of necessity to transfer their core operations online to keep their businesses alive. As a result, we’ve seen mass adoption of online store platforms and an aggressive attempt of technological innovation and revolution to allow companies to remain competitive in this new normal.
However, despite all the efforts we’ve made to adapt to the new normal and stand strong during these trying times, we’ve overlooked the heavy strain we’re putting on our environment. And while carbon emission rates did dip during the first quarter of the pandemic, they have been bouncing back at a dangerous rate and matching the pace at which the global economy is recovering from Covid-19.
Double-edged Economic Recovery
Of course, we are by no means downplaying the significant progress we’ve made to achieve economic recovery after the constant downturn of events that was the year 2020. And it’s only natural that we strive to bring back economic balance because returning to pre-pandemic levels of trade and commerce would revive livelihoods and allow small-to-medium busineshses and enterprises to thrive.
But, our concentrated efforts in opening up the world and healing the global economy have come at the expense of our environment, and what was once seen as an opportunity to reinvent our energy consumption and fix our carbon emission rates is now speculated to go past pre-pandemic CO2 emissions. Therefore, we are now experiencing a double-edged economic recovery wherein we benefit from an economic standpoint but severely lose out due to our increased environmental impact.
Here’s Where We Start: Sustainable Shipping
With all these variables accounted for and the context of the new normal, we’ve also managed to realize a cornerstone at which our current world of eCommerce stands — global shipping. People worldwide are now acclimated to the convenience of online shopping and having their products shipped directly to their front door without the hassle of going out to the mall. And while this may seem like a meager feature, it can provide unprecedented environmental transformation if companies adopt sustainable shipping practices.
#1 Partner With Eco-friendly Shipping Companies
Number one, companies should actively partner with eco-friendly shipping companies that understand their social responsibility to the environment and how minimizing their carbon emissions will greatly reduce the rate at which climate change affects the world. These strategic partnerships should serve as the first step because this will allow collaboration and signal industry leaders to follow.
- Carbon Footprint Analysis: A new standard that businesses must adopt, especially shipping companies, is a comprehensive carbon footprint analysis. This simple tool will help gauge the overall environmental impact of their large container ships and warehouses, highlighting areas of weakness that can be improved.
- Carbon Offsetting: Likewise, it’s nearly impossible to bring carbon emissions rates to a complete zero, but we can work toward being carbon neutral through carbon offsetting investments. Manufacturing companies and shipping companies alike should allocate a strict budget for carbon offsetting projects such as green movements that engage in tree-planting activities and dedicated carbon offsetting companies that will use the funds to fund more green projects.
#2 Utilize Recyclable/Biodegradable Packaging
Companies should decide to move from cheap and efficient plastic packaging to more eco-friendly options that are recyclable and biodegradable. We’ve made significant strides in the realm of eco-friendly packaging options from 100% recycled plastics, corrugated bubble wrap, and improved cardboard boxes that all can be consistently reused or properly disposed of.
- Cost-constraint Debate: A common argument that many small businesses bump into is the cost-constraint debate and how mass adoption of recyclable packaging is more expensive and how traditional plastic packaging is more affordable. And while there’s no denying the price difference right now, starting early and building from a good foundation is still best, and there are incentives for eco-friendly businesses.
#3 Make It A Standard To Ship In Bulk
Finally, while many businesses rely on the motto of same-day shipping or a stringent 3-7 day deadline, we should also make it the norm to ship products and items in bulk. While a constant flow of products does meet demand, it doesn’t bode well for the environment. So, whenever possible, shipping in bulk will put less strain on the processing system and allow more efficient use of space.
Key Takeaway: A Stepping Stone For Further Change
Overall, while we are strong advocates of sustainable shipping practices, let it be known that this change is only a stepping stone for further change. There’s still a need for more fuel-efficient shipping lines, improved infrastructure for efficiency, and office 365 security for digital documents. Therefore, we must act on this change now to start the snowball effect of massing businesses, both big and small, into this green revolution.