6 Ways To Reduce Your Ecommerce Carbon Footprint

As sustainability awareness grows, your brand’s environmental policy will become a key factor in whether customers decide to shop with you. Knowing how make changes to is therefore highly important, and this post will take us through 6 ways to reduce your carbon footprint. These include recycled packaging, reduced returns, digitized hyper personalization, carbon offsetting and digital marketing. 

The Importance Of Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

The new generations of shoppers; Gen Z and Millenials, strongly consider each brand’s policy on sustainability before deciding to make a purchase. At the same time they still expect the high quality of service they have come to know, such as instant delivery & easy returns. Ensuring you have a policy that combines both elements is very important, and it is possible. Let’s take a look at how.

Ways To Reduce Carbon Footprint

Offer Sustainable & Reduced Packaging

Sending small items in huge packages is unnecessary and wasteful. Ensuring that small parcels are sent in smaller packages is climate friendly and also cheaper for the company; no wasted cost on unnecessary excess material. Employing this strategy can actually reduce your brand’s carbon footprint by 30%.

Ensuring that the material your packaging is made out of is sustainable is also a great way to reduce carbon footprint. Using recycled paper and packaging for packing and shipping is becoming more and more common. 

There is even the possibility to use compostable packaging, or packaging that is purposefully re-usable for other purposes. Employing at least one of these techniques will instantly and easily reduce your footprint.

Ensure Eco-Friendly Products

Making sure that the products you provide are made of the most environmentally friendly materials is a great way of reducing the footprint. Biodegradable or organic materials are ideal, and ensuring that your products are of high quality and made to last is too. If you sell single use products, why not consider offering a reusable alternative at the same time?

Ideally, materials should be sourced from local suppliers to keep the money in the local economy and reduce the footprint of the products themselves. This also presents the opportunity to create human relationships with suppliers, maybe even helping to reduce overall costs through long-term partnership potential.

Encourage Reduced Returns

Even though offering returns seems like a good business practice on the whole, returns actually cost eCommerce businesses upwards of 300 billion dollars every year. This gives some food for thought; perhaps this return policy isn’t as effective as it seems.

Removing the offering of free terms may not be ideal for some customers, but it will make sure that deep consideration is taken before purchasing. This will reduce the carbon footprint greatly, but needs to be taken with extra actions.

High-quality descriptions, including images, videos, size chart guides and anything else (videos/social media links) are all absolutely necessary on the product pages. These will ensure that shoppers really know what they are purchasing before they complete the action. This will reduce returns whilst also improving customer satisfaction.

There will inevitably still be some returns, however. In this case, encourage customers to return products in the same packaging they received them,

Incorporate Carbon Offsetting

Since avoiding all carbon footprint marks is impossible, a great way of making a difference is to support projects that work on climate change. Financially supporting climate or global renewable energy projects means that you can offset some of the consequences of your brand’s carbon footprint. 

This should be clearly portrayed on your website, so the shoppers know that you are making this step. Furthermore, by posting on your site you are advertising for the company, perhaps attracting more support.

Optimize Digital Marketing

Because hyper-personalization technology is so readily accessible through email marketing, there should be no reason to use paper. Removing printed or mail flyers will reduce carbon footprint, and improve the customers impression of the brand.

Hyper-personalization is only possible through email marketing, so using this strategy is a win-win situation. It’s a sustainable marketing strategy that is known to produce great merchant results.

Follow Carbon Transparency

Making sure you are informed on your business’s carbon footprint can help you know how to reduce it best. Your brand’s impact can be measured with software that specializes in this. Making sure that you are transparent with shoppers about the steps you are taking will increase trust, and celebrating occasions such as Earth Day show that you take it seriously.

Why Bother With All This?

Even though it might be a bit of effort, there are lots of merchant benefits to making these changes. The first of them obviously being that you are contributing to a safer planet for all of us to live on.

Employees Look For This

Employees look to work for sustainable employers. Particularly Gen Z, and Millennials who currently make up 50% of the workplace and will make up 75% by 2025, care about this. Ensuring that your brand is appealing to them is important.

It’s Profitable

Even though you might not expect it, being sustainable actually can be a profitable business move. Reduced returns helps keep profits high, using less electricity reduces bills. Keeping suppliers local reduces shipping costs. Having a good policy attracts more clients. All of these things add up to make a difference. 

Investors Care About It

Investors are looking forward; and sustainability is the future. If your business doesn’t have a good sustainability policy, your brand will not seem future oriented. Since this will affect us all more as time goes on, reducing your carbon footprint can define how your business moves into the future.

Climate Regulations Are Coming

Starting to reduce your carbon footprint now keeps you ahead of the game. It’s only a matter of time before climate regulations will come into play affecting all businesses. Starting to make positive movements towards this now ensures that you don’t find yourself to make any under-thought-out changes. Staying one step ahead of the game is always a positive.


These 6 ways to reduce your eCommerce carbon footprint may seem small, but they can make all the difference. Making small changes have a huge impact, and if you want your business strategy to continue to be profitable in the future, reducing carbon footprint is something that simply can’t be avoided.