Can E-Commerce be Green-Commerce?


E-commerce is booming right now and it is understandable for many budding entrepreneurs to want to get in on the action. The large question that looms over the eco-minded entrepreneur, however, is how to create an e-commerce business that is profitable while also being sustainable?

Sustainable Guilt over Greenhouse Emissions

Of course there are some basic principles that sustainable businesses have come to adopt, such as green marketing campaigns and selling products that are themselves eco-friendly and sustainable. However, when an e-commerce business depends entirely on the delivery of a product to a customer base, regardless of how eco-friendly that product might be, there is immediately a concern with transportation and greenhouse gas emissions.

These emissions are actually a big concern and when considering creating a business that may add to these negative environmental effects, one does indeed have to be conscientious. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which has published extensive research on both European and global impacts on the environment, have concluded that:

“Today the transport sector is responsible for 23 – 24 percent of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion […] and is expected to grow to one-third by 2050. The transport sector has the highest CO2 emissions growth of all sectors; aviation and road transport are drivers of this growth.”

As shipping plays a significant role in the global economy, there must be a larger consideration for how to improve this system, as opposed to boycotting it altogether. On an individual scale, however, the eco-minded entrepreneur must address sustainability concerns at all points in his or her supply chain. But how can this be accomplished?

Is There Such a Thing as Sustainable Shipping?

In a perfect world, every business and all shipping companies would consider the environment before considering profit, yet this is obviously not the case.

However, there are some businesses and shipping companies that do, which is evident by efforts like the Sustainability Shipping Initiative (SSI) and the companies that incorporate SSI in their supply chain.

One of the best ways for an emerging e-commerce venture to generate an environmentally sustainable business is to utilize an SSI affiliated company to meet your e-commerce shipping needs. See here for a list of the companies currently involved in the SSI, which includes key industry players such as Maersk Line, Cargill, Gearbulk and Bunge, among others.

Moreover, more and more companies like Shiply are coming forward with solutions that involve transport companies filling extra space in their vehicles by quoting on listed delivery jobs on the Shiply website.

Ultimately, the eco-minded entrepreneur should aim to profit within a lucrative sector, while also making wise and conscious choices to be on the right side of collaborative action for a sustainable future.

About the Author Staff Writer

Our writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.