What is The Role Of E-Commerce In Promoting Sustainable Consumption?

The Role Of E-Commerce In Promoting Sustainable Consumption

Role of ecommerce

The Role Of E-Commerce In Promoting Sustainable Consumption

Sustainable consumption is a much-talked-about topic worldwide. Many industries focus on manufacturing sustainable products or integrating sustainability into the business.

At a time when the e-commerce industry is booming, promoting sustainable consumption in this regard has become of utmost importance.

What is e-commerce sustainability, and how can it be achieved? Here’s a look at the role of e-commerce in promoting sustainable consumption.

About Environmental Sustainability In Business

E-commerce provides millions of buyers online the convenience of shopping from the comfort of their homes, evoking many environmental problems.

According to a review done by Nielsen, 73% of consumers worldwide are ready to change their consumption patterns to reduce the environmental impact.

An environmentally sustainable business organization works to reduce the impact on nature. It doesn’t solely focus on profits but also considers its influence on society, human beings, and the planet.

An environmentally sustainable business creates healthy conditions in which businesses can thrive.

E-Commerce Sustainability: What Is It?

E-commerce sustainability relies on online retail business that doesn’t drain natural resources. Its goal is to satisfy the demands of modern customers without compromising future ones.

Sustainable e-commerce consists of retail management, eco-friendly manufacturing, eco-friendly shipping, and sustainable consumption from the buyer’s perspective.

Is Eco-Friendly E-Commerce Possible?

Multiple environmental issues have disrupted the global population up to date. These include global warming, climate change, deforestation, waste disposal, and water and air pollution.

The generation with the fastest-growing purchase power is the millennials, who have the highest level of self-conscious consumption. Therefore, e-commerce can significantly reduce its carbon footprint and become more eco-friendly.

Sustainable e-commerce doesn’t require global changes. All it requires is for businesses to develop specific environmentally friendly practices.

One way to implement sustainable e-commerce is to embrace sustainable supply chain management. Each component of supply change management, from production to delivery, considers its impact on humans, society, and the planet.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

Sustainable packaging is one of the first steps towards implementing an environmentally-friendly business. One step most businesses use is to switch to cardboard envelopes and recyclable paper to pack orders.

Here are some other tips on implementing eco-friendly packaging in your business:

  • Choose the correct package size according to the item inside.
  • Reduce or completely stop using biodegradable packaging like foam or plastic.
  • Ensure to market your sustainable packaging, which can create an excellent selling point for your business.

Eco-Friendly Shipping

You can’t skip shipping procedures at any cost when running a business. It’s an integral part of the business, which makes it essential to consider making it environmentally friendly.

Here are a few tips to make your shipping eco-friendly:

  • Try to make deliveries in bulk.
  • Don’t provide customers with the express delivery option for all product types.
  • Find out about sustainable delivery options available to you. Some shipping companies have adapted to this new feature to go green.
  • Offer the delivery option instead of the pick-up option in physical stores.

How To Manage Product Returns?

Incompetence in managing deliveries and returns is why e-commerce makes the Earth suffer from plastic.

Here are a few things to consider when trying to minimize item returns or at least make them more sustainable:

Fine Tune Your Return Policy

Work thoroughly on your return policy to ensure your business has a sustainable supply chain.

One of the basic principles of an e-commerce business is to allow customers to return a product they are unsatisfied with. It should be more of a right they have rather than an encouragement on your part.

Your return policy should display the fact that you support environmentally-friendly shopping. The policy should not display that customers can buy any amount of products and allow them to return all on any condition.

You must communicate to customers your objective of eco-friendly shopping and the consequences of limitless shopping returns, which is also vital to reduce them.

Provide Customers With Clear Product Details

A significant factor to note is that being informative about a product reduces the chances of it being returned by the customer.

Give as many details as possible about the product and keep it up to date to reduce returns, increase customer satisfaction, and promote sustainable e-commerce business.

Online shopping doesn’t allow the customer to touch and feel the product, so being as descriptive as possible is crucial.

Encourage Customers Who Refuse To Use The Return Feature

As a sustainable business, you should encourage customers to refuse the return option by allowing them to waive their return choice.

You could come up with an agreement to drop down the return option for a purchased good. 

One way to encourage this behavior is to offer a small discount for that specific product or the next purchase. 

How Does Product Data Clear The Way For Sustainable Shopping?

Here’s how product content makes way for sustainable shopping:

  • Enhanced product information helps customers get an idea of environmentally-friendly items.
  • Correct product details equal an enriched shopping experience, which results in fewer product returns.
  • Access to product information helps you identify and correct problems that keep you from being sustainable.
  • Product information standards encourage businesses to move to producing and selling more sustainable goods.

If you want to learn more about e-commerce and sustainability, following a Scorebeyond course will help you. Here you can learn how to integrate eco-friendly practices into your existing business.

What Are The Product Information Standards For Sustainable E-Commerce?

Environmental sustainability in business is connected to complying with international data standards that regulate the influence of e-commerce on environmental conservation. 

Following are some primary industry standards for running a sustainable business.


Uploading product information to the EPREL (European Product Database For Energy Labeling) became mandatory in March 2021. The updated environmentally-friendly design and energy labeling are vital features of present ecological goals.

The standards primarily concern companies that manufacture goods subject to the energy labeling regulations, including home appliances, lighting, and related items).

HS Codes

The World Customs Organization introduced Harmonized System (HS) Codes globally to improve product recognition, apply the correct taxes and tariffs, and ease cross-border e-commerce.

A recent update of the system has introduced new regulations for electrical and electronic items, radioactive substances, medical care products, explosive things, and other goods that could threaten the environment.

Applia Product Information Standard

The primary purpose of introducing the Applia PI Standard is to enhance environmental-friendliness among manufacturers of home appliances. 

The objective of the standard is to introduce a consistent approach to item details among retailers and brands in this sector.

It aims to make products more durable, repairable, reusable, recyclable, and energy-efficient. In short, the goal is to make products more sustainable.

Final Thoughts

Sustainability practices and procedures are taking over the e-commerce world. Businesses focus on protecting the environment using eco-friendly products and procedures from manufacturing until delivery.

Practices promoting sustainability have been integrated into supply chain management. E-commerce businesses have altered their return policies and are far from encouraging the return of multiple items.

Companies also aim to send orders in bulk and have limited the use of express delivery to promote sustainability in e-commerce.

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