6 Ways to Have a Sustainable Business Online
Many online businesses are transitioning to a more sustainable business model. For example, in 2019, Amazon made The Climate Pledge, committing to become carbon neutral by 2040 across all its businesses. Consumers across many countries are asking for more sustainable products. In a recent survey by Futerra, 88% of respondents said they wanted brands to help them live more sustainably. Businesses are changing because they see sustainability matters to consumers. There are various ways you can make your eCommerce business more sustainable. You can invest in eco-friendly packaging, reduce waste, create a carbon offset plan or recycling service, switch to sustainable shipping options and add products that encourage sustainability.
What Is Sustainability?
Sustainability means conducting business so that the planet’s resources are maintained for future generations. The earth’s population is constantly increasing and, with it, the demand for cars, computers, smartphones and all kinds of consumer products. Sustainable businesses understand that we have limited resources and adapt their business model accordingly.
Why Should Businesses Become More Sustainable?
Currently, consumers are demanding more sustainable practices and products across many industries. Making your business more sustainable isn’t just a way of helping the planet. It’s a strategy for staying in line with changes in the market and consumer values.
The amount consumers are willing to pay for a product can vary significantly from person to person. This has to do with a basic business concept called “the willingness to pay.” Someone might be happy to pay a lot more for a product if it’s eco-friendly.
Companies are finding that by branding themselves as sustainable and making genuine efforts to become more eco-conscious, they attract customers who value sustainability and are willing to pay more for sustainable products.
What Does It Mean to Be Carbon Neutral?
The basic idea for a business is to reduce the environmental impact of its operations without compromising profit. For many companies, it’s not possible to suddenly become 100% sustainable. These changes involve costs that businesses might be unable to absorb all at once.
When companies like Amazon talk about becoming carbon neutral, they are implementing a carbon offsetting plan. This means they invest in renewable energy and forestation projects to compensate for their carbon footprint. It’s a way to contribute to climate change crisis solutions without changing their business model.
Even though some people criticize carbon offsets, they are an effective strategy for businesses that want to help solve climate change. Many airline companies and businesses in other industries are adopting them to compensate for their carbon emissions.
How to Have a Sustainable Business Online
There are many ways to make your eCommerce business more sustainable. One of the most important ways is to develop sustainable shipping practices. Shipping is an essential aspect of eCommerce businesses, but one that consumes the most resources. With so many packages shipped every year, it’s essential that shipping is done sustainably.
1. Implement Sustainable Shipping
A way of implementing sustainable shipping is working with carbon-neutral shipping companies. These are companies with carbon offset plans to compensate for the carbon emissions produced during the transportation of products.
For example, like Amazon, FedEx wants to become carbon neutral by 2040. They are also partnering with BrightDrop, General Motors’ newest business, to electrify the delivery of goods and services. In addition to FedEx, many delivery companies have sustainable initiatives and projects. Make sure you let customers know on your website that you are partnering with other companies that care about sustainability.
2. Reduce Packaging
eCommerce packaging is often too large for the product. Small electronics products such as speakers or smartphones come in large boxes with unnecessary extra space. Considering the millions of packages sent during a year, the additional packaging can amount to a significant quantity of wasted materials ending up in landfills.
When choosing your container and packaging supply company, you should look for a distributor that can help you reduce the amount of waste. This may involve buying boxes in different sizes to fit various items or using a biodegradable or recycled filler such as packaging peanuts or air pillows.
3. Choose Sustainable Packaging Materials
In addition to choosing boxes that match the products and aren’t too large, you can also use eco-friendly materials. At least 73% of Americans have access to curbside recycling, so using recyclable boxes can be a great way of reducing the amount of waste your business produces.
4. Reduce Energy Waste
Sustainable packaging and shipping are great ways of making your business more sustainable, but you can also improve the overall energy efficiency of your business. Contrary to popular belief, switching to renewable energy as a small company is generally affordable, and it can help you save money in the long run.
Consider installing solar panels to provide energy for the offices of your company. You can also do small things to save energy, such as turning off devices when not needed, installing low-energy lighting and improving your insulation.
5. Create an Offset Service Charge at Checkout
You can offer your customers the possibility of participating in an offset program. You should research a reputable program and explain what the program consists of on your website. There are many types of offset programs, from programs that invest in renewable energy to tree-planting organizations.
Place an optional offset charge on the checkout page. Any customers who want to participate can mark the box and add a small charge to their purchases to participate in the program. This is a simple way to help consumers be more sustainable.
6. Add Products That Encourage Sustainability
A basic way of making your business more sustainable is selling sustainable products or products that encourage sustainability. There’s a growing market for these products. Also, consumers interested in sustainability are generally willing to pay a bit more for sustainable products.
You can market products by telling customers that a small percentage of profits will go toward sustainable projects. There’s a growing number of brands that market themselves with this strategy.
Create a Sustainable Business Model for Long-Term Growth
If you are making efforts to become a more sustainable business, you must let customers in the market know. By introducing small changes in branding and marketing, you can position yourself as a sustainable company or a company that cares for sustainability. However, if you don’t change your branding a bit or advertise, customers may not know about your efforts to become more sustainable.
Business Developmeny Manager at PAS InfoCom Technologies Ltd. Experienced in project management with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry.