Today, we collectively face the pressing challenges of sustainability, and it has become evident that collaborative efforts to make progress are needed. This is especially relevant to micro, small to medium enterprises (MSMEs)that may lack the resources to tackle sustainability issues, which are complex and vast, on their own. However, when we are all gathered at one table, our different backgrounds, perspectives, knowledge, expertise and approaches to problem-solving can bring innovation and ideas to the next level.
Collaboration can appear in many forms, shares Paul Blackler, Impact Innovation and Agility Coach from PaloIT. eCommerce companies can collaborate with industry associations, trade organizations, or sustainability initiatives specific to the sector. They can also collaborate with their suppliers to promote sustainability throughout the supply chain. Collaborations could also take place in the form of webinars, forums, open space technology forums, and panel experts discussions.
Carolin Barr, founder of susGain agrees in the importance of collaboration in this Lazada Insider discussion, sharing that many businesses face similar challenges when it comes to implementing sustainability in their companies.
Inevitably, questions like ‘How to boost engagement of our employees when it comes to sustainability?’, ‘How do we get stakeholders on board?’ or ‘How do we measure the impact we’re making?’ are all common ones for many businesses. Coming together doesn’t just allow for open discussions and sharing of success stories but also the opportunity to discuss challenges and things that didn’t work.
When eCommerce businesses work together to exchange ideas and expertise, they can develop and promote more sustainable product designs, materials and even packaging solutions, driving the development of more eco-friendly and resource-efficient products.
Here are some other reasons why collaboration and community play such an important role in sustainability:
Addressing sustainability issues requires a holistic approach that considers the entire value chain
Nobody has all of the answers or all the solutions, explains Paul Blackler. Sustainability is a global challenge, and a big and important subject for all, with reducing carbon emissions being a major driver at the moment. Addressing sustainability challenges requires collective action at various levels for a more comprehensive and effective approach, as it brings diverse perspectives, knowledge, and capacities to the table leading to more holistic solutions. For instance, collaboration among eCommerce companies, suppliers, and logistics partners can enhance supply chain transparency. By sharing information about product sourcing, manufacturing processes, and transportation, stakeholders can identify and address sustainability issues throughout the supply chain.
Collaboration is important for greater connectivity and learning
Collaboration facilitates knowledge sharing and learning, and encourages the exchange of ideas, experiences, and best practices among community members. The subject of sustainability can be anxiety reducing, and we don’t want to reinvent the wheel, states Paul Blackler. By collaborating with others, we can learn from each other and exchange ideas and best practices. Community and collaboration can also help to build confidence among participants during sustainable transformation. By working together, communities can leverage each other’s strengths and build on successful experiences, accelerating progress toward sustainability goals.
Competitors can becomes allies and work together towards common goals
When it comes to climate change, many of the challenges businesses face are similar. There is a lot of power when we can come together and work together towards a shared goal. Ultimately, sustainability issues are not about competing with each other, but having the openness to share and to embrace innovation in order to create change in the end. SMEs can work together by identifying common grounds and finding where their synergies and learning potentials are. Don’t assume that the other person is not open to an exchange of ideas just because you may be business competitors in the same space or industry, advises Carolin Barr. See whether there is collaboration potential, in order to get started. It is not always a loss when you share. There is a lot of commercial value to collaboration that organizations can gain.
Collaboration enables the sharing of resources
Collaboration enables eCommerce companies to pool their resources and expertise to address shared sustainability challenges. Through cooperative efforts, communities can work together and share infrastructure, technology, funding, and expertise, to maximize their impact on sustainability goals. This sharing of resources promotes a more sustainable and equitable use of limited resources. By joining forces, they can also have a more significant impact on issues such as carbon emissions, waste management, and responsible sourcing, setting higher sustainability standards all across the sector.
Increased consumer awareness
Collaborative efforts in eCommerce can also contribute to raising consumer awareness about sustainability issues. By partnering with non-profit organizations, educational institutions, or sustainability initiatives, eCommerce businesses can engage customers in sustainable consumption practices. Collaborative initiatives allows businesses to create feedback and engagement channels with customers, and also enable companies to communicate their sustainability efforts transparently. By raising consumer awareness, collaborative efforts empowers customers to make more informed choices and support sustainable practices.
There is no doubt that community and collaboration are essential components to achieve sustainability goals, as well as powerful drivers for change. A collaborative culture and eCommerce can improve sustainability by fostering supply chain transparency, driving sustainable product development, sharing best practices, and raising consumer awareness, among others. In short, by working together, communities can create a more sustainable and inclusive future and drive positive change.