From food to online delivery, we want everything fast. This faster, more comfortable, and more convenient way of living comes at a heavy price, the price of our planet’s health. Sustainability is not a new concept, but the human race has started taking it seriously over the past few decades. A huge increase has been recorded in the number of people conscious about environment-friendly practices. The same goes for eCommerce.
It is not very surprising that the carbon footprints of eCommerce platforms are much greater than expected. Faster delivery options have resulted in greater carbon emissions contributing to the poor environmental conditions. To address the growing need for sustainability, many ecommerce platforms have taken laudable initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and promote eco-friendly practices.
As we have already entered Earth Month 2021, let’s discuss the major sustainability efforts by Etsy and how you can be a part of it too.
Etsy Towards Sustainable eCommerce
Etsy has taken resolute actions towards reducing its ecological impact. Recently, Etsy’s Director of Sustainability and Impact Engagement, Chelsea Mozen, wrote:
“Etsy grew significantly in 2020, and as we get bigger, so does our responsibility to do our part to address the urgent climate crisis.”
Even though some recent goals and attempts of Etsy towards sustainability are bold, they are not new for the marketplace.
Take a look at how Etsy is continuously creating a bigger impact and coming out as a more sustainable platform.
Considering the current environmental crisis of climate change, more and more organizations are coming forward with efforts towards a healthier planet. They are now more focused on practicing zero waste, conserve natural resources, and be more thoughtful of their day-to-day activities.
Setting up an example for others, Etsy has come up as an energy-efficient marketplace that runs from 100% renewable energy. They have also imbibed zero-waste operations on a global level. The marketplace is conscious of the existing threat of climate change.
Etsy’s CEO, Josh Silverman, has said, “We are bound and determined to do everything within our power not only to continue to be a carbon-neutral company but also drive reductions in our overall footprint.”
Etsy Offsets Carbon Emissions from Shipping
In early 2019, Etsy became the first global ecommerce company to offset 100% of carbon emissions generated by shipping.
In simple words, Etsy automatically purchases carbon reductants for every purchase over the marketplace. These carbon reductants are generally known as offsets. The investments that Etsy makes for each sold listing go towards funding environmental projects of various kinds. Including forest conservation, wind and solar farms, and developing greener ways of production.
On 28th February 2019, Etsy purchased carbon reductants to offset shipping emission from the entire US eCommerce sector for the day. This was equivalent to saving 100 square miles of US forest for a year.
Reduced Packaging Impact
Even though about 98% of Etsy’s total carbon emission results from shipping, the impact of packaging can not be overlooked. This is why this year, Etsy has announced another commendable step towards a more sustainable eCommerce.
In addition to shipping, Etsy will now also be offsetting carbon emissions from packaging materials. Hence, for each purchased item, Etsy calculates the emission from shipping and packaging, and purchases offset to reside the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere!
In 2020, Etsy’s carbon offset was equivalent to saving 825 square miles of US forest in a year!
However convenient these measures are, they are only the immediate responses to the current environmental crisis. In order to make a difference towards making eCommerce more eco-friendly and healthier for the planet, there’s a need for collective efforts in the long run towards sustainability.
Now that we are inspired by Etsy to act more responsibly towards the environment, let’s look at why you should develop an eco-friendly business and what you can do to give back to the planet.
The Growing Call for Eco-friendly Businesses
Because of the pandemic, eCommerce emerged as the convenient, safer option for buyers. This resulted in a tremendous shift in online shopping. With the increase in the scale of the sector, the environmental impact has also increased.
However, consumers today are conscious of their carbon footprints. Buyers are actively searching for products and businesses that have a lower environmental impact.
An eco-friendly, nature-friendly, or green business claims that its impact on the ecosystem is low, minimal, or zero.
Ofcourse, it is not easy to transform your business into environmentally-friendly businesses overnight. But it can be done and achieved with responsible efforts towards the noble goal.
Taking the path of sustainability brings less convenience, but thankfully, buyers are willing to choose that path for the sake of the future generation and the health of our planet.
Tips on Building an Eco-friendly Business
Here are some steps you can take towards imbibing eco-friendliness into your online business. The road is long, but each step, however small, is significant.
Review your packaging material
Whether your product comes in plastic packaging (an indestructible material) or in biodegradable packaging makes a significant impact on your shopper. And the impact is greater on the environment.
The traditionally used packaging peanuts are made of styrofoam that takes upto 500 years to decompose. An excellent alternative for the same is starch-based peanuts. They dissolve in water within minutes and are equally protective for your products!
You can look for biodegradable plastics and also reusable packaging, for starters. However, going completely eco-friendly with the packaging may cost you a little extra. If your business can afford the investment, this is something you must consider.
Give Sustainable Shipping Option
Buyers are looking for and actively choosing environment-friendly alternatives whenever they can. This is why you must include the option of sustainable, eco-friendly shipping.
Also, include an FAQ in your web store to explain why buyers should choose sustainable shipping. Aware your buyers about the shipping carriers and the packaging materials you would use as a part of the shipping option. Also, let them know about the impact it has on the planet.
Pack Items in Accordance to Size
Often, sellers go overprotective for their items and ship a small item in large boxes under layers and layers of plastic. Don’t do that. Pack items according to their size. Ofcourse, don’t compromise with the safety of your item but avoid doing it extra!
Amazon introduced the Frustration-Free Packaging program in 2008 to address the need to eliminate overly packed shipments.
It is not just emission from shipping and your packaging contributing to global warming and other environmental issues. Other business processes also play a role and can be analyzed and reviewed. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What material do you use in your product?
- Are they healthy for the environment and others around you?
- Are there eco-friendly alternatives?
- How is the condition of your workspace?
- Can you switch to renewable energy sources?
All of this is a part of your business. Take one step at a time to move closer to the sustainable goals that you set for your business.
Do not shy away from letting your customers know about your business’s sustainable goals. Consumers at present are appreciative of brands that are conscious of environmental issues and are making efforts in that direction.
Eco-friendly Product Ideas to Sell on Etsy
Buyers are loving Etsy not just for its unique collection of products but also because they get to support sustainable businesses through the platform. The marketplace supports and promotes eco-friendly products actively. Customers find products on Etsy safe to use because Etsy and sustainability seem to be powerfully interlinked. Etsy has been aggressively working on its environment-friendly goals for many years now.
Since it’s Earth Month, let’s take inspiration from some of the eco-friendly businesses that are selling well on the platform.
Sustainable Personal Care
It is sometimes difficult for sellers to find regular day-to-day items that are completely zero-waste by being reusable or recyclable. Shoppers are looking for personal care items made with sustainable materials that have a lower impact on the environment. Products that are reusable and do not go to waste too early.
There is a significant rise in the demand for such products. Take an idea from the following sustainable personal care products.
“Buyers are craving sustainable pieces crafted from existing textiles and upcycled materials, such as patchwork quilt coats.”- says the Marketplace Insight 2021 from Etsy.
Did you know that the clothing industry is the second largest pollutant in the world!
Sustainable materials used to manufacture eco-friendly clothing are many in number. You can look for Organic cotton, Bamboo, Hemp fiber, Linen, fabrics made of Cork, Piñatex (a fruit by-product), and Lyocell. Clearly, you have got many alternatives!
Give your business a sustainable identity and move ahead to sell on Etsy. Have a look at these sustainable pieces:
People are buying organic skincare brands more than ever before. Not just has a lower impact on the planet but also their body. This is a great time to sell organic skincare bundles on Etsy to attract buyers searching for Mother’s Day gifts.
Some sustainable products and skincare items on Etsy are shown below.
Reusable Eating Utensils
Even though the pandemic has imposed restrictions on traveling, reusable utensils have become a major requirement today. People are trying to avoid contact as much as possible and hence need more personal items. This also solves the problem of waste production. Many sustainable utensils are listed on the Etsy Marketplace.
Check these out.
Sustainable Furniture and Decor
Consumers are more focused these days on bringing sustainability into their homes and celebrations. For instance, sustainable furniture is in trend these days. These are made of materials that can be recycled or repurposed easily. Another quality of sustainable furniture that has attracted many buyers is that they are multi-functional, takes less space, and is easy to use.
Similarly, buyers are transforming their parties and celebrations into sustainable events. For example, so many sustainable weddings are happening nowadays. Therefore, increasing the demands for eco-friendly decorative items.
Since the past year, Etsy has been reporting continuous growth in the Home Decor and Furniture category.
Have a look at some products from the same.
The list can go on. All these are just a few examples of well-selling sustainable products. However, sustainability can be inculcated into all kinds of businesses. Whatever your product is, it can be made more sustainable and planet-friendly. Environment-conscious platforms like Etsy can help you kick-start your journey towards sustainable eCommerce.
You can connect your Shopify store and Etsy Shop to manage products, inventory, and orders from a single dashboard effortlessly. Simplify growing bigger! Know more.
Sustainability is a long-discussed concept that has become a dire need today. High emissions from shipping, irresponsible packaging, and usage of toxic and hazardous raw materials have made the eCommerce industry a major contributor to the current poor environmental condition.
However, many platforms, like Etsy, have taken significant initiatives to change the present scenario. Businesses are consciously monitoring their social impact and are building eco-friendly brands as a healthy step forward.
Considering more consumers worldwide are willing to choose eco-friendly alternatives, pay extra for sustainable shipping and eco-friendly packaging, celebrate this Earth Day by taking a step closer towards the ultimate goal of 100% sustainable eCommerce.
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