Reduce, reuse and recycle. It’s a phrase many learn as they grow up. But, these practices aren’t limited to just consumers. In fact, more than 2,000 companies and financial institutions across the globe are working with the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) to lower their carbon footprint. But, you don’t have to be a large company to run an eco-friendly e-commerce business or provide eco-friendly shipping.
There are opportunities within each area of your own supply chain that could be altered to relieve any negative impact on the environment. It could range from working with environmentally conscious suppliers to using biodegradable packaging to using carbon-neutral shipping and more.
Doing so could net positive returns for your business too as 88% of consumers reported they would be more loyal to a business that supports social or environmental issues.
With Earth Day upon us and the inspiration to help the environment in the air (along with all that pollen), we thought it would be best to share some of our favorite Shippos who clearly demonstrate what it means to be a sustainable e-commerce business and provide eco-friendly shipping.
What Does Eco-Friendly Shipping and E-commerce Mean?
Online retail stores that are practicing eco-friendly e-commerce reduce their carbon footprint by baking sustainability initiatives into the everyday operations of the business. This could come in a few major ways, including but not limited to:
- Selling goods that positively affect or reduce harm to the environment such as plants, reusable grocery bags, rechargeable batteries, etc.
- Selling goods that are made through eco-friendly processes such as all-natural soaps, apparel and gear made from recycled materials, zero-emissions manufacturing, etc.
- Shipping goods through eco-friendly transportation such as electric trucks and through carriers that offer carbon-neutral shipping.
- Donating to non-profit environmental protection organizations such as WWF, Fairtrade International, Earth Day Network, and others.
To be an eco-friendly e-commerce business, you don’t have to practice all these measures. Incorporating at least one aspect of your business with sustainability in mind is enough to promote on your website.
Benefits of Running a Sustainable Business
The benefits to going green for your business stretch beyond just the environment itself. It can also positively impact multiple areas of your business including finance, sales, marketing, and HR.
- Boost your sales: According to a report conducted by Neilson, 66% of global respondents claim they are willing to pay extra for goods that come from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. Millennials in particular showed an even greater favor for sustainable businesses with 77% responding yes.
- Enhance your brand image: In a separate study conducted by Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, 93% of global respondents claimed that they would have a more positive image of a company that supports social or environmental issues. About 90% of respondents also claimed they would switch to brands that are associated with a good cause if presented with similar price and quality.
- Save money on operations: Using reusable items and renewable energy to manufacture or make your products can also reduce the cost of overhead. It may cost more to set up initially but the long-term benefits will help to keep your margins as large as possible.
- Secure Tax Benefits: The U.S. government has seen the need for businesses to go green and is offering incentives for them to do so in the form of several tax breaks.
- Increase employee morale: According to the Harvard Business Review, 60% of employees reported that they were motivated and passionate about their work when the company’s purpose resonated with them. Sustainability and the environment is something that affects us all and helping to improve the environment is a purpose many employees will stand by.
5 Examples of Eco-Friendly E-commerce Businesses
Eco-friendly shipping and e-commerce can encompass any type of business. There are plenty of ways to incorporate sustainability into your businesses and to show you how, we’ve decided to showcase some of our favorite Shippos.
Hello Bello: Premium And Affordable Plant-Based Products For Babies
Parenthood is rewarding, fulfilling, beautiful, and can be quite fun. But there is no way of getting around the fact that parenthood can also be difficult for both babies and parents at times. This is especially true for parents who are unable to afford quality products for their babies. Hello Bello is on a mission to fix that.
Hello Bello was founded by parents Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard (yes, the adorable couple you’ve seen on television) in 2019. Since then, the business has set out to distribute premium products for babies that are both affordable and eco-friendly.
Hello Bello’s flagship product is a customizable diaper bundle that comes with a free bonus product on your first order and ships out to you on a subscription basis. But, parents will also be able to find other products such as shampoo and conditioners, body wash, baby wipes, baby lotion, baby powder, rash cream, baby oil, and much more that parents and babies are sure to love.
How Does Hello Bello Achieve Eco-Friendly Shipping and E-commerce?
Along with easing the lives of parents and their children, Hello Bello is also making a concerted effort to have a positive impact on the environment as a whole. Their commitment to sustainability comes in all aspects of the business.
Hello Bello uses organic ingredients whenever possible to help support more sustainable farming. They also make their diapers with a plant-derived core liner and sustainably harvested fluff pulp. Their efforts go beyond just the making of the products themselves but also into their packaging. For example, their laundry detergent bottle is 100% recyclable and 50% of it is made from sugarcane resin. Also, their bundle boxes can be upcycled into playthings, which can make for an exciting, new toy for any baby!
The products are made for babies today, but the business practices are taken with their world in mind. To keep up with all the latest news and products from Hello Bello (or to just see adorable baby pics) follow Hello Bello on Instagram or on Tik Tok @hellobello.
Sustain LA: Zero Waste Living + Events
Imagine a world where you no longer fill your trash cans up with single-use plastics and products. This is the world Sustain LA founder, Leslie Campbell, is trying to build in her community.
Her appreciation for the natural began as a child exploring the open forest behind her parent’s backyard. Fast forward to 20 years of working in the food and beverage industry, she witnessed firsthand how much businesses waste with the misconceived notion that convenience only came from the use of single-use products. In 2009, she decided to change that by founding Sustain LA.
The company now provides zero waste solutions for events that have included brands like Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Adidas, New Belgium Brewing, and more. For individuals looking to live a zero-waste lifestyle, Sustain LA sells reusable or refillable products such as soaps, shampoos, coffee filters, deodorants, kitchenware, dish liquid, and more. They’ll even go through a consultation to help you identify exactly what you need to have zero waste.
If you buy their products and need to refill any items, you can either go into their retail store in LA or have someone come to your home and deliver your refill.
How Does Sustain LA Practice Sustainable E-commerce?
Along with their products being designed to eliminate waste, Sustain LA also carries an eco-friendly mindset when it comes to shipping.
They request their vendors’ ship to them using plastic-free supplies, they repurpose all the boxes sent to customers, they use paper shipping tape, and they also use craft mailing labels that can be recycled.
They also flatten and save packing paper, boxes, and other supplies which has led to significant cost savings and has helped prevent the overloading of their recycle bin.
To keep up with all the latest sustainability actions, news, and products from Sustain LA follow them on Instagram @sustain_la or on Tik Tok @sustainla or on Twitter @SustainLA.
Sustainable Haus: Zero Waste, Refill, And Home Goods Shop
Sustainable Haus, similar to Sustain LA, aims to promote a zero-waste lifestyle for all. Janette Spiezio, who is a Climate Reality Leader and Green Team member in Westfield founded Sustainable Haus. Sustainable Haus’ journey began with Jannette selling zero-waste home solutions at local farmers’ markets in 2018. Two years later, Sustainable Haus opened its first mercantile. Now based in Summit, NJ, Sustainable Haus is shipping zero-waste home goods across the country.
Products range from personal care to kitchen items, to kids and baby items, and much more. Just about everything you need to reduce or eliminate waste in your home can be found at Sustainable Haus. Uniquely, they also offer zero-waste classes and non-toxic cleaning classes to teach people how to practice zero-waste in their daily lives.
For those located near Summit NJ, Sustainable Haus even offers services such as knife sharpening and specialty recycling programs for hard-to-recycle items. Sustainable Haus also believes that people shouldn’t have to pay a premium to live a zero-waste lifestyle, which is why items are priced affordably and why they are working to donate boxes of zero-waste cleaning supplies to low-income families.
How Does Sustainable Haus Eneact Eco-Friendly E-commerce?
Sustainable Haus takes the approach of incorporating eco-friendly practices when making the products themselves. The items are all created from organic, recycled, and vintage materials. For example, most of their cloth goods are easily compostable at the end of their life cycle because they only use natural fiber fabrics and cotton thread.
Sustainable Haus also works to eliminate waste by eliminating the need for packaging their products. The business not only reduces waste, but its core purpose is for customers to eliminate waste as well. It’s an eco-friendly e-commerce business on both fronts in that regard.
By doing so they’ve been able to help Americans reduce an average of 4.5 pounds of trash daily and have also helped to divert almost 50,000 rolls of paper towels from production and landfills through the sale of their reusable paper towels. By offering reusable menstrual products, over 30,000 single-use period products were eliminated and by choosing a reusable safety razor they diverted up to 76,000 disposable razors from landfills.
If you’d like to learn more about Sustainable Haus or keep up with their sustainability initiatives and new product offerings, please check them out on Instagram or TikTok @sustainablehaus.
Barred Woods: Environmentally-Friendly, Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
Barred Woods tackles sustainable e-commerce in a unique way. Four friends Dawn, Barb, Matt, and Charlotte founded the business after purchasing an 880-acre parcel of land in Belvidere, Vermont in 2017. The initial goal was to build a sugarhouse on the land and tap about 300 acres while managing the rest for timber.
But after exploring this parcel of land and seeing how the community interacts with it, how the animals live within it, and how beautiful it truly is, the focus of the business shifted. Instead, they looked to see how they could conserve this land while also selling a product that they all loved. That product was and still is pure Vermont maple syrup.
Barred Woods gets their maple syrup from their parcel of land and sells it in consumer-friendly sizes as well as in bulk. But, they’ve since expanded further than just maple syrup. They now offer maple sugar, maple candy, maple cream, maple seasoning, and even a maple pecan scone mix.
How Does Barred Woods Manage Eco-Friendly Ecommerce?
While many businesses look to limit carbon emissions as a way of practicing sustainability, Barren Woods takes it a step further by managing its forest to maximize carbon capture. The program they use to do so is verified through the American Carbon Registry.
Through their actions, they capture 8,000 metric tons of CO2 each year beyond what the forest would naturally capture. According to the EPA, an average passenger vehicle emits about 4 metric tons a year, so they store enough carbon to offset the emissions from about 2,000 cars annually.
While most e-commerce merchants won’t have a forest they can use in their environmental protection efforts, there are plenty of organizations that e-commerce merchants can donate to that will help conserve habitats like this one.
Creature Coffee: Sustainably Delivered, Speciality Coffee Roasters
Creature Coffee was founded in 2020 during a time when the world desperately needed something to smile about and what can make a person smile more than a delicious cup of coffee? Not much. Michael Craig and Benjamin Weiss started the business with the mission of sourcing and roasting quality coffee in a way that is approachable, honest, and fun.
Creature Coffee sources its coffee beans from farmers who grow their coffee sustainability. These farms are located all over the world including Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru, and Ethiopia. These farms do not use any chemicals and fertilizers, which is typically common in the commodity coffee world. The coffee plants enrich the soil and provide natural fertilization, and results in making the farms perfect habitats for wildlife as well as growing other crops. Another value that Creature Coffee stands by is paying their farmers a fair wage for the quality of their craft. They pay two to four times more than the fair trade price, which allows for farmers to live well whilst growing and selling coffee that helps maintain a healthy ecosystem for our planet.
You’ll come to know these coffee types as Cocoa Tango, Tico Cowboy, Andes Candy, and Heirloom Bloom when shopping at Creature Coffee’s online store. With absolute freshness in mind, Creature Coffee roasts twice a week which results in no waste and no stale coffee. With the coffee needing a few days to develop its flavors, this will allow you to receive your order at peak freshness.
Along with selling one-time orders of their single-origin coffee, the business also offers coffee subscriptions so you never run out of your favorite drink of the day. Beyond just the coffee itself, your favorite Austin, Texas-based coffee roasters also sell mugs, shirts, stickers, and bags designed by local artists, as well as coffee brewing gear such as filters, grinders, kettles, and french presses to name a few.
How Does Creature Coffee Handle Eco-Friendly Shipping?
Creature Coffee’s sustainability efforts shine most when looking at its packaging. The coffee bags and stickers (including the tin tie and valve) are all biodegradable. The kraft shipping bags they use to deliver coffee are also biodegradable.
On top of that, the boxes they use to ship with are all made from 100% recycled products and even the tape and shipping labels used are biodegradable as well. You can enjoy your cup of joe even more knowing that you won’t be harming the environment by disposing of the coffee packaging.
To get these sustainable packaging and shipping supplies, Creature Coffee has partnered with Ecology and EcoEnclose. These are partners that are not just focused on shipping coffee but can also help provide eco-friendly packaging to e-commerce merchants of all types.
If you’d like to keep up with Creature Coffee and explore all their latest initiatives, follow them on Instagram @creaturecoffeeco.
To learn more about eco-friendly shipping and how to run an eco-friendly e-commerce business, check out our guide to greener e-commerce operations. Once you do start to incorporate sustainability into your organization’s daily actions, check out some of our Earthday marketing tips to find out how to let your current and future customers know of your greener efforts.