May 22, 2023
Kelli is the senior content strategist for Order Protection.
Consumer expectations are evolving around sustainability.
So much so that a 2021 study revealed that more than a third of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainability. Pair this changing consumer viewpoint with the rise of online shopping, and it’s clear that eCommerce businesses need to embrace green shipping practices.
Not only will this benefit the environment, but making sustainability a key part of your brand’s strategy can help you enhance your brand reputation, build trust, deepen customer loyalty, and give you a competitive edge in the market.
Let's explore how you can make a positive impact through sustainable, carbon neutral shipping.
Understanding the carbon footprint of eCommerce shipping
The shipping industry contributes significantly to carbon emissions, and as the eCommerce sector continues to grow, it's essential to address how our shipping habits impact the environment. According to the World Economic Forum, global shipping accounts for around 3% of greenhouse gas emissions, while the transportation and logistics industry is the biggest contributor to CO2 emissions in the U.S., accounting for 29% of greenhouse gasses.
It’s not a great look, to say the least.
These alarming statistics call for action to reduce our carbon footprint. Thankfully, there are many ways eCommerce brands can work sustainability into their business strategies that benefit not only the environment, but their bottom line as well.
Introduction to green shipping practices
So, what exactly is green shipping? It involves integrating renewable energy sources, utilizing alternative fuels and clean technologies, and optimizing transportation routes and logistics. By embracing green shipping practices, you can significantly reduce your carbon emissions and make a positive impact on the environment.
We get it. Listing out ways to become more sustainable is all well and good, but actually implementing these practices in your business can feel daunting. Luckily, you don’t have to tackle it all at once, and there are steps you can take to ease into it. A great place to start is by calculating your carbon footprint to understand which parts of your business can make the greatest impact by switching to more eco-friendly practices. Perhaps you could make the switch to more sustainable suppliers, or find manufacturers that use cleaner energy. The point is that you won’t become completely carbon neutral in a day, and that’s okay.
Since shipping and logistics are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, you might consider starting here with your new practices. Many eCommerce brands choose to partner with solutions that allow them to send carbon neutral shipments to their customers through carbon offset programs. In the next section, we’ll dig a little deeper into what these programs look like.
What is carbon neutral shipping?
In the quest for sustainable practices, carbon neutral shipping has emerged as a powerful concept for eCommerce businesses. But what does it mean to achieve carbon neutrality in shipping? Bear with us now, as we’re about to get pretty technical.
Carbon neutrality refers to balancing the carbon emissions generated by an activity or process with an equivalent amount of carbon reductions or removals. In the context of shipping, this involves offsetting the carbon emissions produced during the transportation of goods by investing in carbon offset projects.
When a shipment is labeled as carbon neutral, it means that the emissions associated with that shipment have been counterbalanced by supporting initiatives that reduce or remove greenhouse gasses elsewhere. This approach acknowledges that it is currently challenging to eliminate carbon emissions entirely from the shipping industry, especially in cases where alternative fuels and technologies are not yet widely available.
The process of achieving carbon neutrality in shipping typically involves calculating the emissions generated throughout the shipping lifecycle. This includes factors such as the type of transportation used, the distance traveled, and the amount of fuel consumed. Once the emissions are quantified, businesses can then invest in carbon offset projects to compensate for these emissions and achieve a net-zero carbon impact.
Carbon offset projects aim to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by supporting initiatives that reduce or remove carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. These projects can take various forms, such as afforestation and reforestation efforts, renewable energy projects, clean water programs, or initiatives focused on capturing and managing methane emissions from waste.
By investing in carbon offset projects, eCommerce businesses can support sustainable practices and contribute to global efforts in combating climate change. These projects create a positive environmental impact by helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in other sectors or regions, effectively balancing out the emissions generated through shipping.
Partnering with carbon offset providers
Okay, now that you’re an expert on carbon offsets and carbon neutral shipping, you’re ready to implement these practices at your company, right?
So maybe it still feels a little daunting. We have good news! There are many carbon offset providers who are the experts on this stuff, and many have solutions available to eCommerce brands.
Selecting a reputable carbon offset provider is crucial to ensure the effectiveness and transparency of your projects. Look for providers that offer clear reporting and monitoring mechanisms, allowing you to track the impact of your investments accurately. Building a long-term partnership with a trusted carbon offset provider will strengthen your commitment to sustainability and provide peace of mind.
At Order Protection, we’ve partnered with EcoCart to help brands offer shipping protection plus carbon neutral shipments with every order. It’s an easy win for brands, who can add a simple toggle to their online carts, and even easier for customers who can opt-in to protection and carbon neutral shipping with the click of a button.
Working with solutions like EcoCart allows your brand to offset its carbon footprint while also encouraging more sustainable consumer behavior. By engaging your customers in sustainability efforts, you become a crucial part of creating a greener future. It raises awareness among shoppers, and helps your customers feel empowered to take part in offsetting their own carbon emissions.
The benefits of sustainable shipping
We understand that cost concerns and return on investment (ROI) play a significant role in decision-making. However, the long-term benefits of sustainable shipping practices outweigh the initial investment.
Adopting sustainable shipping practices offers numerous advantages for eCommerce businesses. Of course, becoming more eco-conscious now will help you contribute to a greener future in the long run, but we know the feel-good, long-term benefit might not sell the idea to the execs or the board. Luckily, the folks at EcoCart have an answer here, too.
According to their data, brands who provide carbon neutral shipping see a 10% increase in average order value, and a 15% increase in their repurchase rate. These results show that consumers truly value sustainability in the brands they choose to shop with, and they show it with their purchases. Additionally, brands with EcoCart see a 14% increase in cart conversion.
A recent study by Nielsen also found that 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services. By prioritizing green shipping practices, you'll tap into this growing demand and differentiate yourself from competitors.
So sustainability pays off in the short term, too. You'll strengthen your brand reputation, increase revenue, and foster customer loyalty by showing your commitment to and investment in our planet's future.
Reduce your carbon footprint and keep customers happy
You’ve completed the first step: taking the initiative to explore sustainable shipping practices and carbon offset projects. By embracing green shipping, you not only demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and reduce your carbon footprint, but also gain a competitive edge in the market and inspire others to follow suit. In an increasingly conscious consumer market, customers are actively seeking out businesses that align with their values and prioritize environmental responsibility.
Reach out to us today to see how Order Protection and EcoCart can help your brand take the first step towards more sustainable shipping.