Environmental sustainability has evolved over the years, mainly because consumers have started to realise the need to save our planet from the ill effects of global warming and climate change.In Fact, a recent survey shows that around 80% of the customers feel that the businesses should design sustainable products that are environment friendly.

E-commerce has been on a global rise, and so has sustainability been an inevitable part of this industry. Moreso, with the pressing demand of the online shoppers for sustainable e-commerce, the e-commerce merchants are leaving no stone unturned to ensure a greener supply chain. Adapting environmentally sustainable practices is sure to not only benefit the environment but also help your online shop to gain brand awareness, especially amongst the millennial generation.

In this article, we’ll look at what sustainability in e-commerce looks like, why your brand needs to adopt more sustainable practices, and more! So read further to know more!

What is sustainability?

Before we dive further into this article, let us understand what is the meaning of sustainability. Sustainability refers to striking a balance between the use of natural resources without overusing or comprising the needs of future generations. In simple terms, Sustainability aims to preserve the long-term global ecological balance.

What is Sustainable E-commerce?

Now that you have understood the meaning of sustainability, let us explore the concept of Sustainable E-commerce

In e-commerce. Sustainability can take several forms such as business models, packaging process, the supply chain, and more, and its importance will only increase over the years. Instead of successfully addressing the increasing demands for sustainability from consumers, more and more online retailers have been incorporating corporate social responsibility and eco-friendly approaches in their supply chain.

Impact of Sustainability on E-commerce 

Sustainability has a positive impact not only on the environment but also on the e-commerce industry. To support our claim, we did like to mention a statistic provided by a recent survey that mentioned around 75% of global consumers are ready to change their consumption habits to reduce the environmental impact. The numbers do not stop there, more than 72% of the global consumers are more inclined toward buying sustainable products. 

Thus, the pressing demand for sustainable brands and products leaves e-commerce retailers with room to attract customers by adopting sustainable practices.

Ways to move towards Sustainable Ecommerce

E-commerce merchants can take note of the following effective ways to move towards sustainable e-commerce

Climate-friendly shipping solutions

Shipping is an important aspect of an e-commerce business. Consumers these days demand low-cost and faster delivery, thereby leading to higher carbon emissions. A survey shows that freight transport accounts for 8% of global carbon emissions. However, for incorporating sustainable practices into e-commerce business merchants have put climate action high on their agenda and offer environmentally-friendly programs such as paperless invoicing, carbon-neutral shipping via carbon offsetting, and greener shipping options including bikes and electric vehicles. 

Making Packaging more Sustainable

Packaging is an important pillar of e-commerce businesses. However, packaging materials like plastics, bubble wrap, etc are known to harm the environment. Hence, more and more e-commerce businesses are incorporating ways to either reduce packaging or use sustainable packaging in the form of smaller boxes, recycled paper, etc. This saves up to 60% of carbon emissions

Reduction in customer returns

Return policies are always a boon for the customers but often leave a negative environmental impact as it demands additional packaging and shipping processes. Ecommerce merchants looking to incorporate sustainable practices are on the constant lookout for solutions that help minimize customer returns. There is software in the market that offers self-service returns that has a smart rules engine that prevents unwanted returns and offsets the carbon emissions of all remaining returns automatically. 

Reduction in Energy Waste

Sustainability goes beyond the shipping and packaging process, to the overall business practices depending on how your office and warehouse operations. Simple changes such as turning off the equipment when not in use, or investing in energy-efficient lighting, can significantly reduce the energy consumption and also save some electricity bills.

Key Takeaways

Sustainability and the future of our planet should be our major concerns. With E-commerce and sustainability being highly compatible, it’s best to incorporate sustainable practices into the e-commerce business to not only stimulate growth but leave a positive impact on the environment. However, to weave a holistic climate strategy for your e-commerce business, you need to look at the entire product life cycle right from Designing, packaging, and logistics solutions to end-of-life management. 

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