Our world today is facing rapid climate change. Carolin Barr who is the founder of susGain highlights that there are major socio-environmental issues. This rings true with CO2 emissions increasing by 90% since 1970, a looming threat of water scarcity by 2030, and extreme weather changes. Talk about the unbearable heat in Southeast Asia!
In terms of eCommerce impact, modern consumers who are aware of global warming expect businesses to adopt sustainable practices. This hits close to home with another Lazada Insider discussion unveiling that more than 50% of Asian shoppers discontinued buying non-eco-friendly products. Another impactful survey by McKinsey & Co confirms that 75% of millennial respondents consider sustainability while making a purchase.
Here are 5 persuasive reasons why your eCommerce business should adopt sustainable practices:
1. Attract customers who desire sustainability
There is a growing consumer demand for sustainable products and environmentally responsible businesses. Hence, to attract customers, you need to build genuine eco-conscious branding for your business. Avoid greenwashing at all costs. To do so, bring your business through what Carolin Barr terms a sustainable transformation, which includes contemplating your operational impact on waste, waste management, and carbon footprint.
Go back to basics by taking genuine, small steps that make your buyers feel the difference. Some simple and affordable ideas include good ol’ brown paper packages tied up with strings, and honeycomb paper to replace bubble wrap. Alternatively, you can run used paper through a paper shredder and use it as a bubble wrap replacement.
Be inspired: Natta Cosme with 23.6K followers both attracts and inspires consumer eco-consciousness by using soy ink, cruelty-free paper packaging, cardboard boxes, and even reusable packets for some of its skincare products.
2. Improve brand reputation and nurture loyalty
Entrepreneurs who demonstrate a sincere commitment to sustainability hold the power of appealing to the human need of making a positive difference. Customers tend to support brands that resonate with their values and lifestyle. This in turn builds loyalty. Consumers are more likely to develop loyalty towards brands that prioritize environmental responsibility, resulting in repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
With each generation placing a higher emphasis on sustainability as opposed to baby boomers and Gen X, taking the ecologically sound route is a path to success. As another sustainability discussion highlights, the spending power of Gen Z is increasing as more of them join the workforce and they are willing to spend on causes that matter.
Be inspired: One cool eCommerce business, HYGR.MY, has successfully incorporated sustainability into its products while generating buzz with its eco-conscious marketing strategy. HYGR not only uses honeycomb “bubble wrap” but also sells its lip balms and deodorants in unconventional paper tubes! The ending tagline of its recent advertisement on a New York Timesquare billboard quips “Best for skin & earth.”
3. Reduce your carbon footprint in the community
Like it or not, the production processes to make our favorite products emit greenhouse gasses, which trap heat and make our world warmer. Electricity, for instance, makes up 25% of 2021’s greenhouse gas emissions. This can directly impact your community hence a corporate responsibility arises to minimize energy usage.
Paul Blackler who is the Impact Innovation and Agility Coach at PALO IT encourages entrepreneurs to adopt the 5Rs coming from the Zero Waste movement: Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Touching on Reuse, Paul suggests that entrepreneurs should check with suppliers if they can create reusable products. This can be an amazing opportunity to create sustainable fashion or electronics.
If you are an eCommerce seller, try to optimize your logistics and supply chain by using a one-stop warehousing service such as Fulfilled by Lazada. The reason is that optimizing your supply process increases efficiency and reduces waste.
4. Gain a competitive edge with corporate social responsibility
Embracing sustainable changes can keep you ahead of competitors and give you an edge to differentiate yourself. Positioning your business as being committed to corporate social responsibility can attract new customers, retain existing ones, and help secure a stronger market position.
Sustainable changes in your business can be a unique competitive edge if you incorporate them into your social media marketing. Keep your eyes open to government green initiatives and tell people that you are supporting local regulatory factors. This enhances brand image and wins your company brownie points.
Paul Blackler shares that eco-conscious regulatory change is already happening with Singapore updating its carbon tax from five dollars per tonne to 25 dollars per tonne come 2024. Singapore’s Finance Minister stated that such is done in an attempt to meet its zero emissions target by around 2050.
5. Save long-term costs
Making sustainable changes in eCommerce operations can lead to significant cost savings. By optimizing energy usage, reducing waste generation, and adopting eco-friendly packaging, your business can reduce its operational expenses. For example, using energy-efficient technologies and practices can lower electricity bills, while implementing recycling programs can reduce waste disposal costs.
Carolin Barr introduces us to susGain’s creative way of encouraging employees to engage in sustainability transformation projects in the form of fun team-building experiences. Akin to a Pokemon Go game experience, you can reward employees each time they recycle right with something significant such as additional time off. In the long run, less waste is generated. In turn, less cost is needed to discard waste.
If you are an eCommerce seller, take a leaf out of Carolin Barr’s book, and begin to reach for low-hanging fruits that you can get started with to run your business in a more sustainable way. The road to sustainability is indeed a fulfilling, transformative journey that not only safeguards the planet but also secures a competitive edge for your business in an ever-evolving marketplace.