The environmental impact of eCommerce is staggering

In 2020, fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic, global eCommerce sales soared to $26.7 trillion. In addition to the strains on the global supply chain this increase in online sales has caused, the impacts of the eCommerce industry on the environment have been catastrophic. From unsustainable packaging production and landfill waste to the significant carbon emissions generated by shipping products all over the world, the eCommerce market struggles with sustainability.

sustainable ecommerce initiatives

Packaging Impacts

The greatest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the eCommerce industry comes from the production of packaging, at 45%. Every year, 3 billion trees are pulped to produce 241 million tons of shipping boxes. And less than 14% of the 86 million tons of plastic packaging produced around the world is actually recycled.

Shipping Impacts

The impact of shipping goods also contributes significantly to the CO2 emissions generated by the eCommerce industry. The shipping and returns of products make up 37% of global eCommerce greenhouse gas emissions. The rising demand for faster eCommerce deliveries requiring the use of air transportation to cover large distances in less time is pushing the share of emissions even higher. By 2030, carbon emissions for eCommerce product deliveries are expected to increase by another 30%.

sustainable ecommerce practices

Consumer demand for sustainable online shopping is growing

Sustainable, fair-trade, vegan, cruelty-free, durable, and environmentally-friendly products are becoming increasingly popular with eCommerce customers.

Research in 2018 found that products marketed with sustainability claims sold at a higher rate than the category average. For example, in the study, sustainable chocolates had a 16% increase in sales, compared to only 5% for all other chocolates.

In Ireland, 41% of shoppers said they are willing to pay a premium for more sustainable products, and 49% said they want to buy products with less packaging.

Another survey showed that 61% of consumers are happy to wait longer to receive an order delivery if they know it will be better for the environment, and 84% said they would be more likely to make a purchase based on a brand’s positive sustainability practices.

How Autofulfil can help eCommerce brands be more sustainable?

It’s clear that online shoppers want to buy from eCommerce brands that are selling sustainable products with a sustainable supply chain. But how can brands improve their sustainability? With Autofulfil, you can significantly boost your eCommerce store’s environmental impact by utilising our fully sustainable fulfillment services.

Sustainable packaging
We use recyclable and biodegradable paper-based packaging for shipping orders, including paper void fill and paper tape. Our shipping boxes have been produced with sustainable forest management practices that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Carbon-Neutral Fulfillment
Our 100,000 sq. ft. fulfillment centre is lit by motion-sensing LED lights to reduce energy consumption, and is 100% powered by renewable energy only. We plant trees to offset the carbon emissions produced when our employees travel to and from our facilities.

Carbon-Neutral Shipping
We also plant trees to offset the carbon emissions of every order we ship to provide carbon-neutral shipping in Ireland and Europe. In addition to our carbon-neutral shipping initiative, our shipping carriers also have their own carbon offsetting programs in place, which may even result in carbon-negative shipments.

Our partnership with Trees for the Future

Autofulfil has partnered with Trees for the Future to provide sustainable, carbon-neutral fulfillment and make a positive impact on the world with every order we fulfill.

sustainability partnerships

Trees for the Future has planted 250 million trees around the world since 1989. In recent years, they have been focusing on training farmers in sub-Saharan Africa in agroforestry and sustainable land use, so that they can grow vibrant regional economies, thriving food systems, and a healthier planet with tree gardens.

In partnership with Trees for the Future, since 2022, we have helped:

  • Plant 13,760 trees – offsetting 1,100,770 lbs of CO2
  • Produce 51,599 lbs of organic produce to feed families and generate income
  • Restore 216,714 sq ft of land
  • And we’re just getting started!

trees planted - offsetting 1,100,770 lbs of CO2

lbs of organic produce to feed families and generate income

sq ft of land restored

Ready to grow sustainably?

Request a call with our sales team today for an expert consultation and custom proposal based on your unique business needs. Get started in as little as a week!