Sustainable e-Commerce: How to grow your brand and make an impact

Surviving in today’s world of e-commerce depends on much more than simply making a profit. Your brand must stand out against countless competitors. An effective way to make a memorable impact is to embrace the ethics of sustainability. It’s a theme that has directly evolved from concerns about global warming and climate change.

Sustainability is a factor that consumers are actively searching for when they shop online. According to research conducted by GreenPrint, 64% of American consumers intend to shop sustainably. However, 74% have difficulty identifying environmentally friendly products. You need to vigorously promote the genuine sustainability of your business for your brand to increase visibility and strength.

Reducing the amount of paper in Your business

Many businesses produce vast quantities of paper. Receipts and invoices account for much of the volume. Statista has revealed that the US now recycles up to 65.7% of its waste paper. This has helped reduce the amount of harvested timber used in paper production to 36%. However, even this small amount constitutes up to 10 million trees providing wood pulp for paper production.

Your business could make its own impact in saving trees by introducing paperless billing. In the process, you’ll also help lower the billions of gallons of water and oil that must be used in the manufacture of paper.

Consumers interested in sustainability welcome electronic receipts sent by e-mail. Your business can even gain a reputation for increased efficiency. Paperless e-mail billing and receipts are instantly dispatched and received. They are also far more secure as they can’t be lost in transit.

Aluminum versus glass packaging

Image: Karolina Grabowska

Manufacturing businesses of all sizes have always been aware of how to make good use of their raw materials. Yet statistics released by GlobalData indicate that between 2017 and 2021, the US disposed of more than eight million thousand tonnes of industrial waste. Packaging is particularly wasteful and is often destined for overflowing landfill sites.

Aluminum is regarded as an environmentally friendly material as it can be recycled without any loss of composition or performance. Yet according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2.7 million tonnes of aluminum packaging from the food and drink industry are disposed of as landfill material every year.

Packaging with an even greater ecological benefit is glass. The manufacture and recycling of glass bottles and jars produce far fewer carbon emissions than aluminum. Your business could switch its packaging and reduce its carbon footprint. Persuading the public to recycle food packaging is the next important step.

Your business can publicise its sustainable attitude by introducing a recycling scheme. Consumers could be encouraged to recycle glass by offering a small discount for every empty bottle in return for purchasing another of your products.

Benefits of purchasing refurbished products

A study carried out by Earth911.com discovered that the US disposes of 6.92 million tons of e-waste every year. The raw materials contained in laptops, smartphones and PCs are estimated to be worth $7.49 billion. They include gold, copper and aluminum which could all be recovered and recycled.

Recycling e-waste in the US is woefully poor with only 9.4% being recycled. One million cellphones contain 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver and more than 35,000 pounds of copper. Earth911.com estimates the energy alone that’s required to replace one million discarded laptops, could supply more than 3,500 American homes with electricity for an entire year.

Your business could take a sustainable approach when equipping your office. By investing in refurbished laptops and phones you can prevent these valuable raw materials from being wasted. You’ll also contribute to a reduced carbon footprint by not purchasing new equipment.

When purchased from a reputable company, a refurbished laptop is as good as new. Highly experienced technicians will have cleaned, repaired, and tested the hardware. Such companies often provide options for extended warranties to prove their confidence in their services and products.

As ecological, sustainable businesses, they generally operate a policy of zero waste being sent to landfill sites. They’ll recycle equipment that’s reached the end of its life. A significant benefit is that you can purchase a high-quality, premium brand laptop for half the cost of buying a new equivalent.

From fashion to landfill

Image: Sam Lion

The fashion industry can be particularly wasteful. According to the GreenBusinessBureau, the average American purchases new clothing every 5.5 days. Many items have only been worn a maximum of seven times before being deemed unfashionable and sent to landfills. A great deal of clothing is never even worn.

Research by the United States Environmental Protection Agency has highlighted that the recycling rate for textiles is just 14.7%. 11.3 million tons of fabric are still sent to landfill sites. If your business is in the fashion industry, there are many opportunities to develop a sustainable model.

In the Victorian era, most fabrics were recycled and re-spun into new cloth. Today, the sustainable textile industry is following suit by recycling fabrics such as cotton and polyester. Your fashion business could stock brands that only use recycled textiles. 21% of consumers are also willing to purchase high-quality second-hand garments for the sake of sustainability.

Upcycling is an alternative option for surplus stock in any industry, but it’s particularly beneficial in textiles. Unsold clothing can easily be upcycled into soft furnishings such as cushions and throws. The American tradition of making patchwork quilts is ideal for turning discarded fabric into throws with elaborate patterns. You could even establish a brand-new, sustainable business using inexpensive upcycled fabrics.

Conclusion

Many American consumers aren’t confident that the products they purchase are truly sustainable. It’s up to you to promote the efforts you’re making in your business to guarantee sustainability. Provide information on your website or blog about your latest initiatives.

There are many ways to make an impact in e-commerce regarding sustainability. Pay attention to the electronic equipment you purchase and introduce paperless documentation. Choose recycled packaging and upcycle waste materials instead of sending them to landfill sites. Consumers are more likely to remain loyal if your e-commerce business is truly sustainable.

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Eloise Tobler

This article was written by Eloise Tobler of Wisetek Store (www.wisetekstore.com). Wisetek Store was created to give customers access to high quality, reliable and affordable refurbished tablets.

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