JD Duarte


Jose Duarte what eCommerce businesses can do to become more environmentally-friendly

There is a growing concern for the environment and this is something that is at the forefront of customers. As head of an eCommerce store, business owners can also step forward and make an eCommerce greener, more sustainable and increase sales from the consciousness. Jose Duarte, an entrepreneur and eCommerce expert from Costa Rica, explains how eCommerce businesses can adapt to become more environmentally-friendly.

Becoming greener is a global trend and very positive. Shops have significant weight on the amount of pollutants generated by a society, so they have in their power to contribute decisively to reducing the impact derived from their activity. “Customers have fostered a new consumer model that seeks products and companies that have a correct environmental attitude aligned with their interests,” asserts Duarte. “Part of the user experience lies in putting money in a company that respects its values, with which they can be identified.”

If you are a manufacturer, look for the most efficient way to produce your products. Make sure you’re using the necessary energy and no more. Sometimes you have to bet on making a somewhat larger investment to have machinery with a high level of energy efficiency. Says Duarte, “Buying this type of equipment is more expensive in the short term, but in return, it represents an annual energy saving that, during its lifespan, is a fairly important figure.”

As for raw materials, it is also very important that you look for local suppliers whenever possible. Imagine the amount of CO2 you save when served from a warehouse 20 kilometers away in a van compared to receiving shipments from across the world by air. This also applies when you sell manufactured products.

Looking for local suppliers can be a bit idyllic. In case it is not feasible to look for a national supplier, try to plan the shipments very carefully to make only the essentials. Not only does it save money, but it also reduces the carbon footprint. On the other hand, there are always additional measures you can take. For years it has been quite common to find parcel companies that use non-polluting media such as electric vehicles or bicycles. Even some large operators have clean energy-powered vehicles in their fleets.

One of the key points of all sustainable eCommerce is the quantity and typology of material they use to pack their orders. It is very easy to fall into the comfortable and not give too much attention to this, but, by opting for other kinds of materials and techniques, you will be contributing to reduce the number of spills and waste. The market increasingly offers more interesting alternatives such as so-called green packaging or green packaging. These trends are based on using sustainable materials to pack orders but also on a more reasonable use of space.

Using more compact boxes we save about 40% of the space in both our warehouses and transport vans. In both cases the cubic meter is money that we have to pay to the warehouse or the transport company, but in the case of the distribution, we are filling the means of transport first with which they increase the amount of travel and, with it, the carbon footprint.

Use biodegradable materials or even compostables (which can be converted into compost or organic fertilizer). As much as possible, paper and cardboard will always be better than plastic. Don’t mix materials; even if you use 100% recyclable material, don’t forget that adhesives are usually plastic and ink pollutes noticeably (fortunately, there is soy ink for these cases). Look for reusable options. If your packaging is attractive enough in terms of design or can be used for a second use, users will save and use them for other uses.

A 100% digital company tends to have less expense than a network of physical stores for obvious reasons. However, an office also consumes energy and generates waste. First, there is lighting, so try to use efficient bulbs like LED bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are no longer on the market, but halogen bulbs consume 80% more than LEDs. Heating is also a pretty critical point. Ideally, put in an air conditioner and maintain a reasonable temperature and comfort all year round. It is important that you turn off computer equipment when it is not in use. It is estimated that five computers powered on when we are not in the office we are wasting about 400 euros a year of energy.

The important thing is that, whatever the size of your company, we are all able to find a way to proactively contribute to improving the planet and the quality of life of the people who inhabit it (and will inhabit it in the future). The involvement in the causes from company philosophy to logistics to, of course, responsible production is greatly valued by the market. Customers are increasingly rated these aspects and demonstrate this in their purchasing behavior.