Given the rising popularity of e-commerce and the change in the buying pattern of the customer with e-commerce accounting for a larger chunk of purchases worldwide, it is only fair that we look at the sustainability of the industry.
Packaging and shipping or logistics are two areas of concern where sustainable best practices can go a long way in enhancing the responsible, sustainable quotient of the industry.
Packaging of the product has a direct impact on the environment. Typically, the focus should be on the use of recyclable materials and avoid packaging. Amazon, for example, has started sending items in their original packaging. The e-commerce giant is also ensuring that its vendors adopt newer, sustainable packaging standards and taking punitive action in case of non – compliance. Companies are also using reusable packaging, in their efforts to minimize environmental impact. 3M’s Flex and Seal Roll of packing material is completely recyclable and seals on itself. One only needs to cut it as per the size of the product and fold/wrap it to create recyclable packaging for the product.
Shipping/delivery is another key aspect, where environmental impact can be greatly reduced. However, the nature of the company and what it specializes in matters greatly while choosing a delivery partner. The right delivery partner that has sustainable shipping alternatives, like electric vehicles, can minimize one’s carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. For example, Tesla and its electric offering, the Tesla Semi, with a range of either 300 or 500 miles, can provide fuel savings of over 150,000 pounds in just two years.
There are other ways in which an e-commerce firm can reduce its impact on the environment, like reducing the transportation frequency of its products. Giving the customer the choice of collecting the shipment from a location of their convenience is one such option, where not only the e-commerce firm is using a greener alternative, but also engaging its customers in the whole initiative. Consumers get to have their say in how important sustainability is to them and participate in the sustainability drive.
These are just some of the steps that e-commerce companies around the world can take in moving towards a carbon-neutral system. A huge part of why the problems of global warming and climate change exist is because of the rapid developmental changes in the past few decades. However, the promising news is that we can use the same tools to stem the adverse effects and ensure a greener future collectively.