Why Do Most Consumers Want More Eco-Friendly Shipping Options?
By Emily Newton,
Most businesses understand the importance of fast, affordable shipping. While this Amazon-style delivery approach is still in high demand, another concern is taking over e-commerce customers. More consumers are pushing for eco-friendly shipping options as environmental awareness grows.
According to a 2021 survey, 91% of e-commerce customers want an eco-friendly shipping option at checkout. More than half of them are willing to pay another 10% for these services. Even 73% of those who said green practices aren’t important still would like a sustainable shipping option.
Why do consumers want more green shipping options, and how can businesses provide them?
Consumers Want to Go Green
The biggest reason why consumers want eco-friendly shipping is because they want to minimize their carbon footprint. At the same time, people often don’t know how to make an impact or feel helpless given the sheer scale of climate issues.
About 71% of American millennials say the climate should be a top priority, but just 28% have personally taken action to address it. Turning to businesses, which have a larger impact on the environment, is a comfortable and promising solution. It would be easier for them to achieve their personal climate goals if the companies they shop from enabled more eco-friendly practices.
Consumers want the convenience of delivery, but they want to be more sustainable, too. Businesses will have to let them choose a more environmentally friendly shipping method for that to happen.
Shipping Often Has Room for Improvement
Businesses could enable more sustainable practices through many services and options. Eco-friendly shipping isn’t the only path to reducing carbon footprints, but it’s an easy choice because it’s traditionally not environmentally friendly.
Transportation accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than any sector, and most of these come from road vehicles. Many consumers also feel that companies use too much packaging material, contributing to more waste. Shipping has much room to improve in sustainability in light of these factors, so even small changes can have a considerable impact.
Shipping and logistics’ environmental impact is fairly easy to understand for most people. As a result, it’s among the first processes to come to mind when thinking of reducing carbon footprints.
How to Provide Eco-Friendly Shipping
Businesses must offer eco-friendly shipping solutions to meet growing consumer demand. Even people who don’t care as much about the environment still think those who do should have the option. Here’s how companies can adapt to enable green shipping.
Review Vehicles and Routes
Transportation accounts for more emissions than anything else, so it’s the largest target for shipping sustainability. Transitioning to electric vehicles is the most prominent and effective solution but may not be viable for every business. Thankfully, companies can still reduce transportation emissions through other means.
Route optimization will help make more deliveries in less time and space, reducing fuel consumption. UPS famously reduced 100 million delivery miles using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze and plan its routes. Similar systems and processes could help other businesses.
Businesses that run their own fleets should consider using lower-emissions or electric vehicles. Even if they don’t, they should keep trucks and vans in top condition to maintain better mileage. Companies that use third-party logistics (3PLs) should seek to partner with greener fleets.
Pay Attention to Packaging
Packaging materials are another important area to consider. A stunning 81% of surveyed consumers think companies use excessive packaging. Businesses that use fewer materials will reduce waste and emissions related to the production of these packaging resources.
Companies should rethink which items need individual packaging. Similarly, they can use less material-intensive insulation solutions like corrugated cardboard or suspension packaging instead of bubble wrap and packing peanuts.
Businesses should also consider the types of materials they use to pack goods. Using recycled items instead of new ones can enable eco-friendly shipping by reducing raw material consumption. As an added benefit, recycled materials often carry lower production costs, helping businesses and consumers save money.
Work With Eco-Friendly Partners
Sustainability is complex, so truly eco-friendly shipping entails more than just a business’s internal operations. Companies must also work with green supply chain partners to reduce their indirect third-party emissions and waste.
Supplier emissions account for as much as 74% of a company’s total carbon footprint. Businesses that want to safely call their shipping eco-friendly must engage in more sustainable sourcing and logistics partnerships. That includes requiring 3PLs and other partners to meet sustainability standards and asking for data transparency to monitor their emissions.
These partnerships can be an opportunity for going green, too. Businesses can partner with renewable energy plants and other sustainability initiatives to make up for emissions elsewhere.
Eco-Friendly Shipping Is a Must for Modern Businesses
Eco-friendly shipping will become increasingly crucial as environmental concerns rise. Businesses must offer it to meet consumers’ demands and succeed in a more environmentally-conscious market.
Sustainability can seem challenging at first, but there are many ways for businesses to reduce their shipping carbon footprints. Slowly embracing more of these changes can help them meet the needs of a shifting consumer base.
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