Sustainable e-commerce business, or "green e-commerce business", is e-commerce's commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development. Green business will not only have a positive impact on the environment and communities, it will also bring revenue and profits to the enterprise.
A Nielsen study showed that more than sixteen percent (66%) of consumers worldwide are willing to pay higher prices for green products.
In this article, we will discuss many practices and strategies that may be applied in sustainable e-commerce, from recycling to sourcing local products to improving energy efficiency.
1. Greening products and raw materials
For an sustainable e-commerce company, your business foundation maybe your product set. Green products are good for the environment (generally speaking, the production of ordinary products can cause harm to the environment), but this is precisely the first step where business operations can begin to make efforts to protect the environment.
In terms of raw materials, replacing standard cotton quilts with organic cotton, or switching from polyester blends to fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles, these changes will soon attract your customers’ attention. Now we will list some helpful suggestions for your sustainable e-commerce career.
Eliminate unnecessary items in the product
Consumables and durable goods in all products are related to this problem. Please review the company's product design or product formula, where each component of the product is necessary. If the existence of this part (functional or aesthetic purpose) is not obvious or important enough, please consider deleting it.
Minimize unnecessary fillers
Products from traditional industries such as soap, shampoo, shower gel, etc., merchants use too much water or other fillers to fill the products to make their sales in supermarkets more attractive. But green e-commerce does not have this burden, so please eliminate fillers.
Minimize packaging waste
Traditional retail shelves are filled with products of the same type in different sizes to attract buyers' attention. But under normal circumstances, the largest size product may cause customers to waste, while the small size product is over-packaged. Please design the best product size and green packaging for your (or your customer) products.
2. Warehousing and order fulfillment
According to Zentail's survey data, four out of ten e-commerce companies or brands outsource all their warehousing and distribution resources to other companies. Of these, 12% are exclusively outsourced and 48% are both. But no matter which method is chosen, warehousing and order fulfillment are critical aspects of the environmental footprint.
If you want your company to adopt an environmentally friendly approach in this regard, please communicate with your partners carefully to see their views and ideas. If they are happy and willing to make a change, it will be perfect! If not, and they are delaying sharing information or making changes, consider finding a new service provider that can operate in an environmentally friendly way.
- Choose Electric Forklifts
Electric forklifts may be more environmentally friendly (if electricity is renewable), and have a higher operating safety factor (because battery acid, antifreeze or transaxle fluid and other chemicals no longer react).
- Lighting management
For most companies today, lighting is still the main driving force of electricity. So what measures should be taken for environmentally friendly warehouse lighting? Please consider using CFL or LED tubes and turn off the lights in time when no one is in the room to avoid wasting power.
- Temperature management
Simple steps such as heat insulation and weatherproofing of doors and windows and rational use of shadows can be used to maintain a comfortable temperature for employees while minimizing energy consumption. In addition, it can also manage the garage door and correctly transfer the heat emitted by the equipment into or out of the building according to the season.
3. Choose sustainable packaging materials
The step of choosing the right packaging materials may be troublesome for sustainable e-commerce companies because each material has its advantages and disadvantages.
- Thin plastics have lower carbon emissions compared to other materials, but the recycling rate is very low (most plastics end up as garbage, causing environmental damage concerns).
- Paper can be recycled, recycled and reused, and can be degraded naturally, but it is not waterproof and heavy, and its carbon emissions are higher than plastic.
- Glass is the easiest to reuse, but it is a non-renewable resource, very heavy and difficult to recycle.
- Aluminium can be recycled and reused indefinitely, but it is indeed a non-renewable material.
Please choose suitable packaging materials that meet the needs of the product, no matter which one you choose, 100% recycle as possible.
4. Benefits of Developing a Sustainable E-Commerce
The green business philosophy brings more than just profits. Sustainable e-commerce companies that pay attention to environmental protection not only cater to the trend of market development but also make the environment better.
Companies that value environmental protection have the opportunity to develop their affairs and build loyalty among consumers in the current and future markets. Now is the time to pursue sustainable e-commerceoperations.