How hard would it really be to make greener choices for your business?

Does your e-commerce business want to be viewed as responsible or irresponsible?
Whether you are a small e-commerce business or a large online retailer, making the right packaging choices for your business is really important, particularly when pledges to save the environment are aplenty and consumers are ritually being impressed upon to make smart choices. Let’s face it, those choices could be the difference between retaining loyal customers, making new ones or losing them all together.

Leaving your customers to dispose of plastic waste is viewed as irresponsible and signifies the need for businesses to change, so we’re here to help you make smart and positive eco-friendly changes to your business.

Did you know that 87% of consumers view businesses that show social awareness and take environmental issues seriously, more favourably than those that don’t? Consumers are changing their allegiances and that’s a fact! Businesses who make environmental commitments are seeing a forty percent growth in their business after they made ‘greener’ choices. The evidence is out there….going green really can boost your brand image and sales figures too!

How have they done it? 
Well, smart marketing of products is always a good start, but there has to be something tangible driving it. Consumers are more knowledgeable about the environment than ever before and they care. When they shop they check out what materials are being used and how easy an item might be to dispose of, so if you’re selling products, you need to ensure that your packaging is designed for the environment. Establish a framework that incorporates what materials are being used, if it includes any recycled material, what process has been used in its manufacture and where possible reduce the amount of packaging being used and the variety of materials being used (fewer materials will result in easier recycling).

Remember the average person in the EU generates one hundred and sixty kilograms of packaging waste each year and in multi person households that figure will be even greater. I received a delivery from China yesterday and my item arrived in a plastic mailbag, smothered in clear sellotape and the item inside was swathed in plastic bubble wrap and more tape. It was almost  impossible to get into my purchase and I had to take care to remove all the tape, just so I could recycle the bag and wrap. I was grateful my item arrived unbroken but it’s presentation frustrated me. So what could my seller have done differently?

For a start my seller could have devised a sustainable packaging strategy. If they were smart they could have identified sustainable materials to package with or considered what impact my items delivery would have on my ability to recycle. They could have considered an alternative to the mail bag, would a box have done the same job? The wrap could have been replaced with eco-friendly voidfill and the tape could have been paper rather than plastic. All just as effective and less damaging to the environment.

Remind yourself that ‘No man is an island’ (John Donne) and the same is true of your business.To become truly eco-friendly you must establish what part other partnerships play in your ‘green’ journey, i.e. suppliers, packaging and delivery methods. Begin by delving into the records of your suppliers. Do they know where and how the items they supply to you have been produced? How do they operate? What sort of carbon footprint do they have? Where changes have been made to your product, have you been kept informed regarding the materials used? Yes, you are being nosey, but in truth what your product says about your trading ethics and attitude to the environment is also reflected in the partnerships you embrace. Carry out an eco-audit, so you can answer with confidence everything about your supply chain and make changes if required.

Last but by no means least, is where you do business….your premises. Often overlooked, but consider this… can make greater savings and save the environment with some small changes. So, how well do you utilise your space? If your response is, ‘could do better’, then planning which areas are used for what could become major factors in where and how you store stock. Expensive re-fits can be avoided with careful planning and help you to streamline your packing areas for greater efficiency. Further to that you could lessen the energy you use by considering sensor activated lighting and smart temperature controls (don’t heat unused or empty spaces). Insulate walls and ceilings with grade ‘A’ insulation and your heating bills will be lowered.  We are aware that the outlay for these can be costly, so if you rent your business space, you may want to establish if these money saving systems have already been fitted.

Being an online retailer does not exonerate you from becoming eco-friendly. Just because your public are online and not on the high street, does not make you any less responsible for making positive changes. At allpack® we can support your e-commerce business on the road to greener packaging, greater sustainability, eco-auditing and streamlining your packaging processes to reduce the amount of waste you use. Any change is a step in the right direction, so book a no-obligation free consultation with one of our packaging experts to see how allpack® can support your business to become ‘greener’.

Source: Going green: how to make your ecommerce business eco-friendly in 2019: 8 January 2019: Lil Packaging.