If you’re running an eCommerce business, you’ve likely heard the term “sustainable eCommerce” thrown around. It’s not just a trendy phrase; it’s a crucial part of modern business. Why? Because having an eco-friendly supply chain is not only good for the Earth but also for your business!
McDonald’s switched to recyclable coffee cups and saw a positive impact on their brand reputation. Patagonia is committed to an environmentally friendly business model and uses recycled materials in over 60% of its fabrics. These companies show that going green is not just an ethical choice but a smart business move, too. These green business steps are not only cost-effective but also improve brand identity and press exposure in the process.
At Delta Fulfilment, we’re committed to helping you make your supply chain as green as possible. Our sustainable fulfilment services support environmentally conscious ecommerce businesses to reduce their carbon emissions. Due to the rise of ecommerce brands and, as a result, their impact on the environment, we have made it part of our ethos to commit to sustainable supply chain practices.
The Rise of eCommerce and Its Impact
Online shopping has become a big part of our lives, offering convenience and a wide range of products at our fingertips. But this convenience comes with a price, particularly for the environment. According to Forbes, 20.8% of retail purchases will occur online by the end of 2023. By 2026, this number is expected to rise to 24%.
The growth isn’t slowing down. E-commerce sales are expected to grow 10.4% in 2023. These numbers show that eCommerce is not just a trend but a significant part of the retail landscape.
Unfortunately, the boom in online shopping has led to a rise in carbon emissions and waste. More delivery vans are on the road, and the amount of packaging waste has increased. According to Statista, emissions from parcel and freight shipping are expected to generate 25 million metric tons of CO2 by 2030.
As an online retailer, you have a role to play in reducing this environmental impact by adopting eco-friendly practices in your supply chain and operations.
What is a Sustainable eCommerce and Supply Chain?
A sustainable supply chain aims to limit its negative impact on the environment. This involves ethical sourcing, reducing carbon emissions, and waste management.
But it’s not just about doing the right thing; it’s also a smart business move. Companies that adopt sustainable practices often see various benefits, from cost savings to a better public image. So, an eco-friendly supply chain isn’t just a new environmental business trend. It should be a part of your future and long-term business model.
Benefits of a Sustainable Supply Chain
- Cost Savings: Reducing waste and using energy efficiently can lead to significant savings. According to a report from McKinsey, a company’s supply chain accounts for 80% of its greenhouse gas emissions. By going green, you can reduce these costs in the long run.
- Customer Appeal: Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious, with 85% of consumers more likely to buy from a company known for its sustainability efforts.
- Risk Management: Being sustainable helps you stay ahead of new laws and regulations. The UK government has announced plans to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990.
- Brand Image: A sustainable supply chain can protect against reputational damage. Let’s not forget that Nestle had to rebuild their brand reputation in 2010 as a result of the Palm Oil Scandal.
The Role of Recycling in an Eco-Friendly Supply Chain
Recycling isn’t just about tossing your plastic bottles into a separate bin. In the context of a supply chain, it plays a vital role in sustainability.
Recycling is a key part of waste management and has a direct impact on sustainability. When you recycle materials, you reduce the need to extract and process new raw materials. This cuts down on energy use, lowers greenhouse gas emissions, and minimises waste. But it’s not just about the environment; recycling can also bring cost savings. By reusing materials, you can reduce purchasing costs and make your supply chain more efficient.
Recycling Best Practices
Understanding how to recycle different materials is crucial for an effective and sustainable supply chain.
Cardboard and paper are often easier to recycle and can be turned back into new products. In contrast, plastics may require special treatment or even a separate recycling process. Some companies now use biodegradable packaging materials that can be composted, offering another avenue for waste reduction in landfills.
By incorporating recyclable materials into your supply chain, whether your product or packaging materials, you can make your supply chain more sustainable while meeting the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly and sustainable businesses.
7 Eco-Friendly Supply Chain Tips
You’re here because you want to change, and we’re here to help. Below are seven tips to make your supply chain more eco-friendly.
1. Ethical Sourcing
Ethical sourcing means making sure the products you sell are produced with environmentally sustainable materials made under fair and humane conditions. This includes fair wages, safe working environments, and no child or forced labour. In the UK, consumer protection law sets a framework for businesses to make environmental claims that help consumers make informed choices. This law aims to protect consumers from misleading environmental claims and encourages businesses to invest in the environmental performance of their eco-friendly products.
By sourcing ethically, you’re not only doing the right thing but also attracting customers who care about sustainable goods.
Animal Testing and Ethical Sourcing
Animal testing is a hot topic when it comes to ethical sourcing. Many consumers are now looking for products that are cruelty-free. In the UK, it’s illegal to test cosmetics and their ingredients on animals. So, if you’re in the cosmetics sector, it’s not just an ethical choice but a legal requirement to avoid animal testing.
By ensuring that your products are cruelty-free, you’re taking another step towards ethical sourcing. This can also be a strong selling point for your brand, as more consumers are looking for ethical options.
2. Reduce Carbon Footprint
Reducing your carbon footprint is a big step towards a more sustainable supply chain. Small changes can make a big impact when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint.
When you work with us at Delta Fulfilment, you’re already on the path to reducing your carbon footprint. We are committed to sustainable supply chain practices for e-commerce partners. By choosing a fulfilment partner committed to sustainability, you’re making a responsible choice for your business and the planet.
3. Waste Management
Managing waste effectively is crucial for any eco-friendly supply chain.
Waste management is not just about getting rid of stuff; it’s about doing it correctly. This involves reducing waste where possible, reusing materials, and recycling. For example, separating waste materials for recycling can be a simple yet effective step. Composting organic waste is another option. These practices not only help the environment but can also reduce your waste disposal costs.
At Delta Fulfilment, we want to practise what we preach as a sustainable brand. That is why we operate a paperless environment in our warehouses by leveraging technology and making environmentally conscious decisions to reduce waste. By implementing sustainable business practices, our partners can be sure we are making a positive impact on the environment.
4. Green Packaging
Packaging is often the first thing your customer sees, and it can make a big impression.
Sustainable packaging aims to reduce waste and use materials that are better for the planet. Options include recycled cardboard, biodegradable plastics, or even reusable packaging that customers can send back. These choices not only help the environment but also attract customers who prefer eco-friendly brands.
When you partner with Delta Fulfilment, you’re making a commitment to green packaging. We use biodegradable and recycled materials for filling and packing. Additionally, any unused cardboard from excess packaging and returns is shredded and recycled. This approach ensures that the order fulfilment process is eco-friendly from start to finish.
5. Energy-Efficient Warehousing
Where you store your products is a big part of your supply chain, so making it energy-efficient is crucial.
Energy efficiency in the warehouse can be achieved in various ways. One simple yet effective method is switching to LED lighting, which uses less energy and lasts longer than traditional bulbs. You can also consider installing solar panels to generate your own clean energy.
Delta Fulfilment is ahead of the curve when it comes to energy-efficient warehousing. We have revamped our warehouse lighting and heating systems with sustainability in mind, including the use of LED lighting. Renewable energy is the key to a more sustainable business model, so we are moving towards using eco-friendly electric alternatives for all our gas-fuelled equipment.
6. Eco-Friendly Transportation
Transportation is a big part of any supply chain and can be a major source of emissions.
Reducing the carbon footprint of your shipping methods is key to a sustainable supply chain. Options include using electric vehicles for local deliveries and optimising shipping routes to reduce fuel use.
Delta Fulfilment is a green business committed to reducing our carbon footprint in the logistics and transport sector. We are working towards carbon-neutral order fulfilment and partner with sustainable couriers to ensure the entire order fulfilment process is eco-friendly.
7. Customer Education
Your customers play a big role in sustainability. Being transparent about your sustainability efforts can go a long way. Use your website, social media, and even packaging to showcase your commitment to a sustainable ecommerce business and share information about how you’re making your supply chain more eco-friendly. You can also offer tips on how they can recycle or reuse the packaging or make more sustainable choices themselves.
Partner with Delta Fulfilment for a Sustainable Future
You’ve reached the end of this guide, and you’re now equipped with valuable tips to make your supply chain more eco-friendly. Sustainability is not a one-time effort; it’s a continuous journey that requires commitment and action.
The next step is to put these tips into action. Start small if you need to, but start. Whether switching to eco-friendly packaging or optimising your shipping routes, each step you take makes a difference.If you’re serious about sustainability but don’t know where to start, consider partnering with a third-party logistics provider like Delta Fulfilment. We are committed to sustainable practices, from our energy-efficient warehouses to our eco-friendly transportation methods. By choosing Delta Fulfilment as your fulfilment partner, you’re essentially outsourcing your sustainability efforts to experts who have already done the heavy lifting. Contact us today to start your journey as a sustainable eCommerce brand.