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19 Sep 2023

10 tips to limit the environmental impact of your eCommerce delivery process

10 tips to limit the environmental impact of your eCommerce delivery process

The eCommerce industry is constantly growing, and the impact of all eCommerce-related individual deliveries on the environment should not be overlooked. That’s why, as an eCommerce merchant, it’s best to adopt sustainable practices to limit your impact and meet your customers’ expectations. There’s certainly a discordance between eCommerce and sustainable development, but it’s essential to be informed and aware of all sources of impact. In this article, we’ll share with you some practical tips for limiting the impact of the delivery process on the environment.

1. Choose environmentally-friendly packaging:

The choice of packaging is one of the most important aspects of reducing the carbon footprint of your delivery. Opt for recycled and recyclable packaging materials. Encourage your suppliers to reduce unnecessary packaging. Less packaging material means less waste.

Make sure your packaging is lightweight and adapted to your delivery process. Attitude products offer revolutionary plastic-free packaging made entirely from FSC-certified biodegradable cardboard. They also offer adapted products such as shampoo bars that are smaller and lighter to carry, and eco-refills for an eco-responsible alternative to single-use bottles.

2. Use sustainable transportation:

Collaborate with carriers committed to environmentally friendly practices, such as grouped delivery or the use of electric vehicles. You can also explore greener transportation options, such as bicycle delivery or postal lockers in urban areas.

It’s encouraging to see that some carriers are beginning transitions towards a sustainable or even carbon-neutral service offering, like OBIBOX. Work with these carriers to reduce the environmental impact of your supply chain.

3. Provide eco-friendly delivery options:

Offer your customers environmentally-friendly delivery options, such as relay point delivery, grouped delivery or deferred delivery. These options reduce the number of individual deliveries and, consequently, the carbon footprint. Offer your customers different delivery options, such as bicycle or electric delivery, with specialized local carriers like Livraison vélo MTL.

4. Encourage reuse and recycling:

Incorporate a packaging recycling or take-back program into your business model.This will encourage your customers to adopt more sustainable behaviors.

Second-hand marketplaces are one of the trends to watch in eCommerce for retailers in 2023. 

Solios Watches is an eCommerce model in terms of sustainable development. For example, they offer a credit via their recycling program for customers who recycle their old watches.

5. Optimize inventory management:

Optimizing inventory management is key to reducing your eCommerce’s environmental impact and improving delivery.Use real-time management systems to minimize overages and unnecessary deliveries. Carefully analyze demand forecasts to find the right balance between stock-outs and excessive production leading to losses. Prioritize quality to reduce returns and carbon emissions. Keep an eye on market trends to avoid waste.

6. Inform your customers:

Educate your customers about the sustainable practices you adopt. Greater transparency boosts their confidence and encourages them to support your approach. There’s a fine line between responsible marketing and greenwashing. To find out more, consult this capsule (french only).

7. Measure and reduce your carbon footprint: 

Regularly monitor and evaluate your delivery-related carbon footprint. Identify areas for improvement and set reduction targets. Set clear targets for improving your carbon footprint, and make sure you have a team committed to achieving your goals.

8. Manage returns wisely:

It’s essential to consider the impact of eCommerce returns on the environment. Around 10% of returned products end up in landfill, contributing to the accumulation of waste. Packaging is another source of waste. Be aware of this reality and look for ways to reduce unnecessary returns by improving the accuracy of your product descriptions.

Find out more about reverse logistics and how to limit returns.

9. Compensate for carbon footprint:

Give your customers the option of offsetting the carbon footprint of their order. A technological solution like EcoCart, added directly at the checkout stage, gives your customers the option of making the transaction carbon neutral through a financial contribution. You can also offset your impact by purchasing carbon credits yourself through organizations such as Tree Canada or others.


10. Rethink your shopping experience with unified commerce

To reduce the environmental impact of your eCommerce while offering an enhanced customer experience, consider optimizing the shopping journey through unified commerce. Offer options such as in-store returns or in-store pick-up, enabling you to reduce individual shipments and the associated emissions. This approach not only improves the efficiency of your delivery process, but also the overall experience of your customers. By offering greater flexibility in the shopping journey, you contribute to customer satisfaction while reducing the environmental impact of your eCommerce.

eCommerce activities have a major environmental impact. Some aspects of eCommerce that are harmful to the planet are tangible, very easily visible, but some are less obvious to detect. Find out more about the invisible impact of eCommerce on the environment.

In summary, by adopting these sustainable practices in your eCommerce delivery process, you can reduce environmental impact while meeting your customers’ growing expectations in terms of sustainability. E-commerce can play a vital role in building a more sustainable future, and as an eCommerce merchant, you have the power to make a difference.

Bonus 11. 

Beyond the environmental impact of your delivery process, you can explore the other pillars of sustainable development. Whether it’s social, local, governance or employee issues, there are certainly ways to have a positive impact. 

For example, you can involve disabled employees in your production or preparation processes. The Tact Group and many other similar organizations offer parcel preparation and inventory management services, promoting the socio-professional integration of people living with functional limitations.

Want to go beyond delivery and improve all aspects of your eCommerce business? Check out our sustainability guide: how to green your eCommerce.

At Novatize, we’re committed to supporting your transformation to a more environmentally friendly eCommerce. Together, we can contribute to a greener future while keeping your business thriving.

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