Carbon emissions are one of the leading causes of global climate change. Last year, emissions were at their highest level ever, reaching 36.3 billion tonnes as the world economy burned more coal to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.
To combat the climate crisis, many industries, including the eCommerce space, are searching for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and slow down environmental damage.
How exactly are they doing this? Carbon neutral shipping!
Major retailers like Amazon and Microsoft have already pledged to become carbon neutral in the next few years, and an increasing number of brands are following their lead. In fact, research has shown that 23% of companies have made a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030, relying solely on renewable power. That’s a lot of environmentally savvy companies!
If you’re a business owner wondering how you can start offering carbon neutral shipping, this article will cover everything you need to know to get started.
What is Carbon Neutral Shipping?
Carbon neutral shipping is the practice of transporting goods where the net carbon dioxide output is as close to zero as possible. Carbon neutral shipping is typically achieved through both emission reduction (batching shipments and leveraging lower-emission vehicles for transport) and offsetting the carbon that is produced.
Carbon dioxide is the leading cause of climate change on our planet. By switching to carbon neutral shipping and offering more environmentally friendly shipping options, businesses do their part to protect the environment and keep carbon dioxide emissions low.
Why the Future of Shipping is Carbon Neutral
If you’re hesitant about making the move to carbon neutral shipping, you’re not alone. Many businesses are wary of disrupting current shipping practices for something else. But we’ll let you in on a little secret: Eco-friendly shipping doesn’t just benefit the environment, it benefits your business and fulfills new customer demands.
Let’s dive into the benefits of carbon neutral shipping a bit more.
- It’s cost-saving. Making the switch to carbon neutral shipping can actually help you save a ton of money. By getting rid of wasteful shipping emissions, packaging, and power consumption, you can actually reduce shipping costs. Plus, research has shown that the majority of customers would actually pay more for eco-friendly packaging.
- It protects the planet. Like we said earlier, major companies like Amazon, Microsoft, DHL, and UPS are all making the switch to carbon neutral shipping. Joining these major competitors helps you to stand out from the crowd and shows your commitment to planet protection projects.
- It’s what consumers want. More and more of today’s consumers are concerned about protecting the environment. The Wall Street Journal found that 62% of consumers feel very strongly about tackling air pollution. Another 64% listed recycling and reusing as some of their top priorities. By adopting carbon neutral shipping, you can balance changing customer trends with your brand values. Plus, you decrease the chance of losing customers to competitors.
5 Steps To Reduce Emissions And Offer Carbon Neutral Shipping
The good news about switching to carbon offset shipping is that there are many ways to do so. This means you can find a method that works best for your business and minimizes potential disruptions to your existing processes.
Here are five ways to get started:
1. Purchase carbon offsets
Purchasing carbon offsets is the best and easiest way to reduce your carbon footprint. Basically, these are financial contributions you make towards environmental projects.
For example, at Route, we’ve partnered with Patch, a carbon credit marketplace that neutralizes our greenhouse gas emissions. These credits represent a verified unit of carbon removal delivered by environmental projects that we’ve purchased to help naturally clear carbon from the air. Some of the projects we’ve been involved with have been certified by organizations like Climate Action Reserve, the American Carbon Registry, and more.
Look for other carbon credit companies that can do the same for your business.
2. Don’t use plastic packaging
Plastic lasts forever, making it the worst packaging choice for brands seeking to increase their sustainability. It can take literally thousands of years for the plastic to decay, wreaking havoc on the environment all the while.
Additionally, plastic is made from fossil fuels like crude oil that are a significant contributor to global pollution, which essentially means it’s not biodegradable.
Here are just some of the problems plastic can cause:
- Approximately 1,000 sea turtles and other marine animals die every year by being strangled by plastic bags or attempting to eat them.
- Chemicals added to plastics can be absorbed into the human body, resulting in hormone altering and other health effects.
- Plastics stored in landfills can leak harmful chemicals into groundwater, polluting water sources.
- Nearly 4% of the world’s oil is used to make plastics, resulting in an enormous amount of carbon emissions.
Eliminating plastic from your shipping process has a positive environmental impact, helping to keep the planet’s oceans, soil, and air clean.
3. Use environmentally-friendly packing materials
Consumers are shopping online more than ever before, which means they’re now responsible for disposing of packaging. Rather than adding to waste, use environmentally-friendly packing and packaging materials like cardboard, biodegradable packing peanuts, bioplastic, air pillows, or plant fibers. This can help to seriously reduce your carbon footprint.
4. Use the smallest packages possible for the items you’re shipping
One of the biggest mistakes retailers make in packaging is using large boxes to ship items. This is extremely wasteful and can actually cost you more money. Plus, it minimizes how much you can actually transport on a daily basis.
Instead, use the smallest package possible for every item. This allows you to load and ship more each day, decreasing your CO2 emissions and reducing waste.
5. Utilize green energy throughout your supply chain
There are myriad opportunities for you to make your supply chain greener. Start by conducting an audit of where you’re consuming the most power and energy.
For example, one of the biggest energy consumers is lighting. Switching to energy-efficient lighting sources like LED can actually reduce your carbon emissions by 50-70%.
Consider insulating your warehouse to control the temperature inside the building and lower heating costs.
You could also implement paperless processes to cut down on paper waste too.
How Koio Offers a Green Shopping Experience
Koio, a luxury footwear brand, created an entirely green shopping experience for its customers. Not only are each of their shoes made from sustainable, regenerative materials, but they’ve also partnered with Route to provide eco-friendly shipping. Route’s sustainable shipping and package protection have enabled Koio to improve its post-purchase experience while simultaneously helping the environment.
Route Offers Carbon Neutral Shipping
Whether you want to decrease your carbon footprint or support your customers in their efforts to be more green, Route can help.
When you purchase package protection with Route at checkout, you get the added benefit of carbon neutral shipping. With each order, you support an agroforestry initiative that’s helping to remove carbon dioxide from the air and promote a flourishing ecosystem.
You’ll also get all the benefits of using Route for your post-purchase experience, including real-time tracking, package protection against loss, theft, and damage, and so much more.
Learn more about Route’s sustainable services by requesting a free demonstration.