Key Points:

  • 81% of respondents said that they attach importance to companies implementing programs that improve the environment
  • Eco-friendly shipping supplies are often made of biodegradable materials
  • Studies have shown that shipping emissions could contribute approximately 17% of all global carbon emissions by 2050

One of the most important aspects of running a successful online business is having a well-thought-out shipping process. However, shipping now has a new dimension that eCommerce retailers have to consider. In light of how quickly the environment is being damaged, customers are beginning to take note of how their orders are packed and shipped - and they’re paying attention to retailers who are taking their deliveries green. This is where green shipping comes into the picture. The way you pack and ship your items can significantly affect our environment - and, if you find ways to minimize your impact, you may just find that your customers become increasingly loyal.  This article will explain why eco-friendly shipping solutions are important and how you can do it.

Table of Contents

Why Are Green Shipping Solutions Important?

Perhaps you already do this unconsciously, but abiding by best shipping practices brings a lot of benefits to online business owners. And now, offering eco shipping solutions can enhance those benefits. Here are a few reasons to green your deliveries:

1. Customers Are Taking Note

In a survey carried out by Nielsen, approximately 81% of respondents said that they attach importance to companies implementing programs that improve the environment.

2. Significant Reduction of Emissions

Studies have shown that shipping emissions could contribute approximately 17% of all global carbon emissions by 2050 but if eco-friendly shipping solutions are adopted, this could be avoided.

3. It Saves Money

This applies especially to the use of packing materials. The more materials you use, the heavier (and more expensive) the shipment will be. But when you use fewer packing materials, you will save money in packing and shipping.

4. Green Shipping Solutions Will Give Your Brand a Boost

In this day and age, “woke” customers are constantly on the lookout for brands and businesses that align with the values they stand for. Because of this, it’s important that you retain their loyalty by showing your sense of corporate social responsibility.

5. The Materials Used Are Biodegradable

Eco-friendly shipping supplies are often made of biodegradable materials. This means they can easily be recycled and used for other purposes; they also don’t take as long to decompose. All of this means that they have less of an impact on the environment.

A Green Future

It’s clear that the future of the shipping industry is moving in a greener direction. But what does that mean - practically - for online merchants? Here, we take a look at some of the environmentally-friendly solutions that are currently happening in the industry.

What is Eco-friendly Packaging?

This is a form of environmentally-friendly packaging which is usually made of recycled or biodegradable materials. This type of packaging is not only safe, but it’s also sustainable for humans and the environment. Some of the major features of eco-friendly packaging include:

  • Produced from biodegradable materials
  • Safe for humans
  • Safe for the environment
  • Produces minimal or zero environmental waste
  • Has a reduced impact on the environment.

More Couriers Jump to Offer Green Shipping

A number of shipping and logistics companies have already adopted the use of eco-friendly shipping boxes and environmentally-friendly policies to support retailers who want to minimize their impact on the environment. DHL aims to be carbon neutral by 2050 and offers green shipping solutions through its GoGreen Initiative. This green push by the German courier includes non-toxic foams, biodegradable twine and packing peanuts, and reusable anti-static peanuts. DHL has even “greened” its vehicle fleet - for example, its teardrop trailers have an aerodynamic shape to reduce air resistance (and fuel consumption).

Not to be left out, UPS is also going full throttle with its efforts to offer green shipping services. The carrier now offers its customers environmentally-friendly, recyclable air pillows that eliminate the need for bubble wrap and packing peanuts.

Barriers to Environmentally-Friendly Shipping

As much as businesses want to offer eco-conscious shipping to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions in our environment, there are a number of barriers that currently limit their abilities to do this. Here are some challenges to green shipping that some eCommerce retailers currently face:

1. Attitude of Shipping Companies

Because there are no universal standards, many shipping companies and shipyards approach the issue of environmentally-friendly shipping in different ways. This difference in outlooks and actions can be an issue for retailers who truly want to offer eco shipping as part of their business.

2. Lack of Budget

Many businesses and couriers simply lack the budget to be able to make the huge changes that are necessary for green shipping. This especially applies to things like making green upgrades to existing ship fleets.

3. There Are Very Few Experts

To really take eco shipping to the next level, couriers and businesses need advice from experts in theInternational Maritime Organization (IMO). This will allow them to access ship inspections, and IMO agreements and certifications. However, there are very few IMO experts in most countries available for these activities.

4. Issues of Domestic Law

This is another significant barrier to green shipping because countries are slow to change their domestic laws to align with international conventions.

How Do You Ship Eco-Friendly?

In order to keep up with your customers’ expectations - especially with those that relate to environmental impact - online merchants should attempt to implement green shipping solutions as soon as possible. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Liaise with “green shippers” that pay attention to sustainable packaging and also use transportation that has low carbon emissions, including DHL, UPS, and USPS.
  • Utilize eco-friendly shipping supplies to pack your orders. This could include things like recycled cardboard, environmentally-friendly plastics, and biodegradable materials.
  • Stick to the size of your products. This means that your boxes and packaging should be as close to the size of your items as possible so that you’re not using unnecessary materials. This improves space and cost efficiency and also results in less waste.
  • Schedule your goods to be picked up instead of dropping them off yourself. This way, the courier’s delivery trucks can combine a number of pickups, which reduces the number of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere.
  • Try to reduce returns (or eliminate them completely). With all the fuel used and emissions made while getting these goods back to you, returns have a negative impact on the environment. As much as possible, try to make sure you’re not delivering the wrong or damaged items.
  • Offer eco shipping tracking receipts with paperless options so customers can track their orders without resorting to slips of paper that will be thrown away.

How Sustainable Shipping Methods Can Grow Your Business

Whether you’re shipping your products by land, sea, or air, carbon emissions are an unfortunate byproduct that negatively affects the environment. By practicing eco shipping, you can limit the environmental impact of shipping on the planet. Not only will this potentially save you lots of money, but it could also encourage customer loyalty and increase sales. Easyship offers a full complement of shipping solutions, so once you’ve packed your orders in an environmentally-friendly way, you will be able to find the greenest possible solution for getting them to your customers.  

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