Every day issues like environment and global warming are discussed. No surprise that shoppers are trying to make a contribution to the sustainability environmental movement in several ways. Consumers prefer to purchase energy-efficient products and appliances as well as locally-made items. More and more shoppers choose products in recyclable packaging or buy at farmer’s market.

Ebay recently introduced the Ebay Green Team as a result of record number of customers choosing to buy items that could be classified as “used”, “organic”, “refurbished”, “vintage”, “sustainable” or “remainder.”

The good news for online retailers: Ecommerce itself is green and in order to become a “greener” online shop all you need is to make a few environmental changes. The rewards will justify the effort.

Green Online Shopping

Online shopping is “greener” than shopping via traditional models. A study by the Carnegie Mellon University  compared the impact of buying online vs. driving to and from a store. It concluded that the online transaction reduced the environmental impact with 35% less energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

• Green effect 1. Less vehicle miles: Shopping is one of the most frequent reasons for car travels. Each time that a customer decides to buy online rather than go shopping by car CO2 emissions are saved.
• Green effect 2. Less printed materials: Online e-newsletters and brochures replace their physical equivalent therefore it saves paper and reduces distribution costs.
• Green effect 3. Less waste. Across the whole supply chain of procurement, manufacturing and distribution, the Internet can help reduce product and distribution cycles. Auction services like eBay and Amazon Marketplace even enable redistribution of second-hand items promoting recycling.
• Green effect 4. Dematerialization. Better known as digitization, this is the availability of products like software, music and video in digital forms.

Green Online Shop

• Packing Material: For mail-orders, packages are indispensable. Nevertheless avoid e.g. disposable packaging and use environmentally friendly, recycled wrapping materials instead.
• Bulk Mailing: Offer to ship several items in just one packing instead of several separate packages.
• Email instead of paper: Send invoice, newsletters etc. by email instead of paper and offer for example paperless payment.
• Whenever paper is unavoidable, use 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
• Offer to withdrawal old batteries and other electric appliances.

Green Online Retailer

In order to become an environmental Ecommerce retailer it might be worth to share your own green office efforts with your customers. Further reducing energy usage is good for the planet as well as for your business as it translates into lower operating costs.

• Use compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs in the office and warehouse.
• Setup the energy saving features on computers during the day.
• Turn off all computers, monitors, printers, scanners, etc. through a power strip at the end of the day in order to prevent “standby” energy these devices are often using.
• Use a paperless accounting system saves immense amounts of resources. A small investment up front on equipment and services (backup hard drive, scanner and online backup service) will pay for itself in costs on resources such as paper, file folders, and file cabinets.

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