Why Your e-Commerce Business Needs to be More Sustainable

November 4, 2021

Sustainability has been a growing buzz word for a few years, but since the pandemic our impact on the planet was brought to the fore like never before. Since the plastic bag tax was introduced in 2014, there has been a marked reduction in the number of single-use carrier bags, and it appears consumers are now driving this change, not businesses or governments.

Why is sustainability important?

Online shopping offers a myriad of benefits to consumers. Providing convenience, online shopping allows users to browse products from their favourite brands from the comfort of their own home – with many items available for next day delivery, our penchant for online shopping and our buy-now need-now mentality is coming at a price.

This convenience is becoming an expense to the environment, with a shocking report showing that Amazon emits nearly as much CO2 as a small country.

Punchout Catalog Solutions can make e-commerce businesses more sustainable by streamlining procurement processes and reducing waste. This can be achieved through centralized procurement, paper waste reduction, environmentally-friendly purchasing, efficient inventory management, and better tracking of purchases. These efforts can lead to reduced waste, lower costs, and a positive impact on the environment.

E-commerce consumer behaviour

If you own an e-commerce brand you may have noticed certain behaviour changes with your audience – especially if your target market is Gen Z. Fast-fashion has been making headlines around the world because of its impact on the planet, as well as some of the conditions its workers endure in factories, and consumers are now voting with their feet with generation Z leading the charge.

A study carried out by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA) found that during the pandemic 28% of people are recycling or reusing more clothes, and 35% of women intend to buy fewer clothes in the future.

How can e-comm businesses become more sustainable?

As an e-comm business, it’s important for you to embrace this change in consumer behaviour and also engage in more sustainable practices.

Dan Conboy, MD at Statement comments, “Sustainability is not going away. But it poses a real challenge for brands, because there are some that have got sustainability at the heart of what they do. Then there are others where sustainability has perhaps not been as prominent, and those brands have got to go through an evolution. I’m really looking forward to seeing how brands evolve on that sustainability message and what impact it actually has versus what brands might say they’re going to do.”

A simple way for e-commerce businesses to become more eco-friendly is by adopting greener shipping practices. This can be choosing to use recycled and sustainable packaging, shipping in bulk where possible and encouraging customers to reuse or send back product containers – and offer incentives for doing so.

Whilst both e-comm businesses and consumers still have a long way to go, if everyone starts making small changes, it can have a big impact.

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