It’s no secret that your customers care about your impact on the environment. Today’s market is full of savvy millennials and Gen Z shoppers who use their spending power to support environmentally conscious brands.
In a 2017 survey by Deloitte, 67.1% of millennials surveyed either sometimes or always check a brand’s sustainability and ethics practices before deciding to purchase from them. That means shoppers want to support transparent, ethical businesses — and they’ll pay more to do it.
With an expected growth rate of 50% by 2025, ecommerce sales have exploded through the pandemic and are showing no signs of slowing. And with this market growth, so does its cost to the environment. Last-mile freight now happens with record speed alongside manufacturing and packaging, all equalling record emissions.
There’s a silver lining, we promise! Reducing your business’s carbon footprint is much easier than before. While environmental impact consultants and analyzing your supply chain are important to achieving long-term operational sustainability, in the short term you have the power to go green with easy-to-use sustainability apps for business.
But, before we chat through the 10 eco-friendly apps to reduce your brand’s carbon footprint, let’s briefly touch on sustainable business practices.
How do you create a sustainable business?
The Center for Sustainable Business Practices calls a business sustainable if it is:
- economically viable (profit)
- socially responsible (people)
- environmentally friendly (planet)
Understanding these three elements is vital for businesses to thrive in today’s market. Keep people, the planet, and your profit balanced as you develop new products and services. And by investing in more sustainable business practices your story will resonate with like-minded shoppers.
You can read more about leveraging your sustainability plan in your customer experience by downloading our free ebook here.
What are 5 eco-friendly business practices?
- Carbon offsetting is the highest impact thing you can do right now. Read our Guide to Carbon Offsetting to learn how to apply this to your business.
- Work with sustainable suppliers that are certified by a third party. Certified Carbon Neutral, Energy Star, TRUE Zero Waste, and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) are some to look for.
- Lean is a way of thinking about filling a customer’s need with fewer resources and less waste. Thinking this way while continuously experimenting to achieve zero waste is how to run a Lean business.
- Over-production of goods is expensive to you and wasteful to the environment. Some ecommerce stores have pre-orders of seasonal goods to figure out the demand before manufacturing.
- Reduce your business’s carbon footprint by shipping entire orders together. Batch shipping uses more packaging and more fossil fuels to transport goods. Source eco-friendly shipping materials to reduce your emissions even more.
Customer expectations are changing the face of ecommerce. Today, 79% of consumers expect businesses to be sustainable and transparent. But you don’t need to be intimidated by the task of improving your ecommerce sustainability. There are lots of helpful eco-friendly apps on the market (that can integrate right into your shopping cart).
When you have the support to grow your sustainability practices, you can focus on growing your business!
The 10 eco-friendly apps we recommend to reduce your brand’s carbon footprint
Find out how these 10 green apps can help you achieve your sustainable ecommerce goals.
Recurate is a resale platform providing “recommerce” support to create a circular economy. If you’re in the garment industry, you can reduce your business’s carbon footprint with branded resale.
We love that Recurate makes Branded resale easy to implement in addition to allowing your brand to seamlessly:
- create a circular economy
- reduce your environmental impact
- gain trust by showing customers you stand by your product quality
Recurate states the resale industry is growing faster than traditional retail. Resale can help you reach a wider audience and hit your sustainability goals at the same time.
A recent McKinsey survey found more than three in five customers consider the environmental impact an important factor in their buying decisions. The same survey found that 48% of both Millennials and Gen Z plan to buy more items secondhand. With a branded resale app, your brand can be a pioneer of this trend.
GreenStory is an eco-friendly app to help you turn your sustainability data into compelling impact stories.
There are a lot of facets to sustainability in business, and it isn’t always clear which your customers will care about. Carbon offsetting for ecommerce sustainability is gaining importance. Consumer purchasing behavior is trending toward buying fewer, more sustainable products for which two-thirds of shoppers are willing to pay more.
Effectively telling your products’ sustainability story can help you capture more conversions from the eco-conscious shopper. Stats aren’t enough — gain your audience’s trust with accurate and transparent data about your environmental impact, and progress toward your goals for improvement.
Customers aren’t the only ones changing. Businesses need to get ready for “decarbonization” and sustainability legislation changing the economy. GreenStory promises to help you with future-proofing your eco-friendly compliance needs.
Arka provides the eco-friendly packaging essential to running a sustainable shopping experience. They have a range of FSC-certified products for using only responsible forestry practices.
Cut the carbon from your shipping — you can get eco-friendly options for these common packaging materials:
- protective inserts
- poly mailers
- tissue paper
Going green in your packaging materials doesn’t mean losing your brand identity. Arka offers full-print coverage for its sustainable packaging. You can integrate their eco-friendly app with your Shopify, BigCommerce, Square, or ShipBob store.
Energy-efficient warehousing. Biodegradable packaging. Carbon Offsetting. Manifest offers “sustainable ecommerce fulfillment” solutions to common ecommerce emissions problems.
Green warehousing is more than automation – let’s be honest, the climate crisis won’t be solved just by making fulfillment more efficient. We need efficiency, but we also need energy-efficient machinery, LED lightbulbs, and renewable energy sources to power our warehouses. It’s a big job, so it makes sense to partner with an expert in sustainable ecommerce for businesses of all sizes.
This go-green app provides clear data on your business’s carbon emissions. They’ll also offset them for you. Popular sustainable brands like Thousand Fell use Manifest to reach their environmental goals. So, if you’re looking for a total supply chain solution for sustainability, Manifest might be the right app for you.
EcoCart combines sustainability storytelling, analysis dashboards, and product life cycle analysis into carbon offsetting to give you a customizable experience end to end. Thousands of brands and millions of shoppers use EcoCart, integrating sustainability into the shopping experience.
Our carbon-neutral checkout is a one-click solution in your shopping cart, making it easy to offset carbon emissions from manufacturing to delivery. By making your customers a part of your sustainability story we build trust and lasting relationships. In addition to calculating the carbon footprint of your customer’s order we give you customizable options of funding your carbon offsets, making our product accessible for all brands.
Not only does EcoCart make it easy to measure and offset your carbon emissions, our Carbon Emissions Dashboard gives you the data you need to make a difference. Tell the unique story of how your brand helped save mosaic grasslands in North Dakota or provided families in Laos with ceramic water filters reducing their risk of waterborne diseases from e.coli. We provide easy-to-understand snapshots of your impact, like how many pounds of CO2 you’ve offset, trees you’ve saved, or lightbulbs you’ve powered.
Your customers will thank you. And more importantly, they’ll keep coming back to shop with you because you make them feel great about their choices — shops see an average of 15% lift in repurchase rate when they tell their sustainability story with EcoCart. Give yourself a leg up on your conversion rate, too; our merchants see a 14% increase in conversion. No more abandoned carts for you!
The carbon offsetting projects we support are vetted extensively and internationally certified. You and your customers can be confident you’re reducing greenhouse gasses and improving the local communities around our offset projects. Let us help you meet your sustainability goals with our easy-to-use carbon analysis and offsetting options.
We don’t have to tell you how competitive ecommerce can be. These days, customers have endless options of brands to support, and it’s too easy to add items to a shopping cart and forget about them. That’s where Yotpo comes in! Don’t stress any longer about your remarketing strategy — do what brands including All Birds, Away, Third Love, and Ouai have already done — use Yotpo to recover those abandoned carts.
Using proven strategies such as SMS marketing, social proof from user reviews, and loyalty and rewards programs, choosing Yotpo can help you make more sales.
You might be wondering what remarketing has to do with sustainability. Well, EcoCart and Yotpo can be leveraged together to encourage, reward, and thank your customers for actively reducing their carbon footprint. Pretty cool, right? Your shoppers are 3 times more likely to become repeat customers after taking a sustainable action like choosing our carbon-neutral checkout, increasing their lifetime value.
Through the Yotpo referral program, you can gain new, value-aligned customers. And build your relationship with them over time as you leverage personalized messages tailored to the sustainable topics they care about.
If your brand of ecommerce uses a subscription model, look no further for sustainability support. Global subscription brands turn to Recharge to power their repeatable transactions, reduce customer churn, boost brand loyalty, and increase their customer’s lifetime value.
Get more power when you pair Recharge with EcoCart, to offer carbon-neutral subscriptions to your customers. You can choose to cover the cost or have shoppers opt in to pay for the carbon offsets to make their order carbon-neutral. EcoCart and Recharge together mean your customers can get the repeatable products they need when they need them and know they’re being responsible for offsetting their carbon emissions. It’s a win-win-win!
What is your brand’s social impact? In this era of values-driven consumer decision-making, it’s great when ecommerce brands align themselves with causes to demonstrate their values. With ShoppingGives, you can enable impact right in your cart. Brands like Steve Madden, Coach, and Natori are already using it to good in the world of ecommerce.
Imagine the good you can do by offering a giving experience where shoppers donate to their favorite charity as they check out. They can choose from over 1.5 million non-profits, or you can have the donations go to your favorite one. If you’re looking for more ways to run your business sustainably, donation campaigns to climate action causes are a great way to do it — all while increasing the lifetime value of your customers by 19%.
No need to worry about cause marketing compliance or any of those complexities — ShoppingGives will handle that for you so you can be sure your customer’s donations go where they should.
We often don’t realize our digital activities’ impact on the environment. But all our online infrastructure creates carbon emissions too. Aline can help you understand your Digital Carbon Footprint. Basically, all the CO2e emissions from our digital technology, manufacturing, external hardware, network use, email, web, and digital tools.
Aline helps businesses achieve their net zero carbon emissions target through:
- Measuring and reporting on emissions
- Helping companies to implement digital sustainability policies
- Educating business partners and staff
Because ecommerce relies on digital tactics to attract and retain customers, maintain sales infrastructure, and so much more, finding ways to make those activities carbon-neutral is really important.
CarbonClick is another eco-friendly app for ecommerce. Enable the “green button” in your cart, and your customers can choose to offset the impact of their purchases by donating to a carbon offset project. Shoppers can also stay informed of their long-term impact as they receive updates about the progress of the carbon offset project.
Carbon-neutral checkouts drive brand loyalty — climate action makes customers 7-13% more likely to repurchase. So, if you’re using WooCommerce, Shopify, or Magento to host your ecommerce site, you can take the first step toward net zero carbon emissions.
FAQs about Sustainable Business Practices
Environmental apps can help you build more sustainable business practices and reduce your carbon footprint. We’ve known for decades that carbon emissions cause climate change. But what is climate change? And how much responsibility do we have to fight it?
As business owners, we’re responsible for reducing our operations’ harm to the planet. Here are some ways we can adjust our practices to be more eco-conscious.
What is an example of sustainability in business?
Everything we do in business has an environmental cost. Fortunately, we can use many different practices to decrease our carbon emissions.
- Use LED lights in factories and warehouses
- Go paperless, especially for invoices
- Find a green web host for your ecommerce site
- Invest in a carbon offset program
- Move to renewable energy sources
- Replace factory equipment with certified energy-efficient options
- Invest in lower-emissions shipping processes
- Increase the percentage of recycled materials in your products (like recycled paper, cotton, or plastics)
How do I start an eco-friendly ecommerce business?
Maybe you’re thinking about starting your own business and want to do it in an eco-friendly way. In that case, the green apps in this article can help make your warehousing, distribution, shopping experience, and marketing sustainable. As you develop your business model, look for sustainable raw materials.
- For consumer packaged goods, use local ingredients whenever you can
- If you’re getting into apparel, source ethical, organic materials, or use fabrics created from recycled materials
- Want to launch a cosmetics ecommerce shop? Look for vegan and cruelty-free products made with ethically sourced ingredients
- If you’re creating a home goods line, try sourcing reclaimed wood and recycled fibers when designing your products
What is green commerce?
Green commerce means doing business in a way that doesn’t deplete natural resources for future generations while meeting the needs of current consumers. It can be challenging to balance people, the environment, and economics, but more and more shoppers are looking for sustainable alternatives. Like how 72% of people reported buying more eco-friendly products.
As we discovered in this article, many eco-friendly apps are on the market to help ecommerce business owners go green, so don’t feel like you have to do it alone!