Sustainability and environmental impact have taken on a new sense of urgency among major beauty and wellness brands that want to connect with an increasingly eco-conscious population. Even brands that have been around for decades like L’Oréal and Estée Lauder have shared their plans to achieve carbon neutrality, and other brands are sharing innovations with solutions like reusable packaging and refillable business models.
With more and more proof of the effects of climate change, eCommerce brands are taking more personal responsibility to implement sustainable practices. And, they know that’s what consumers are looking for too. Almost two-thirds of Americans prefer eco-friendly brands and products.
Your customers care about how sustainable your brand is. Consumer behavior is shifting, working towards a more sustainable mindset, and online shopping is no exception. Between 2019 and 2020, online searches researching the environmental impact of online shopping increased by 2,250 percent. Additionally, searches for terms like “shop sustainably” and other similar terms increased more than 650 percent between 2019 and 2020.
But it isn’t just your products that should be sustainable; your packaging must also be sustainable. What’s more, your third-party logistics (3PL) provider can be a partner in achieving more earth-friendly packaging and fulfillment processes.
The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Packaging
Worried that sustainable packaging and processes could add to your fulfillment costs? It actually may cost you more, in the long run, to pass up on these earth-friendly options.
Howso? According to one survey, 47 percent of internet users across the globe shared that they stopped using products or services that violated their personal values, the most important of which was protecting the environment. Without investing in sustainable practices, you could be losing out on a lot of repeat customers.
Consumers are even willing to pay slightly more if it means they know they are making choices that positively impact the environment. Thirty-five percent are even willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly products, packaging, and shipping.
And truthfully, online retailers don’t have to choose between sustainability and profits. Eco-friendly packaging can benefit your brand in other ways too. For example:
- Cutting down on packaging volume saves money on packaging materials and also takes up less warehousing space. It can also reduce the number of transports you have to make, reducing your brand’s transit emissions.
- Earth-friendly packaging is also often free of allergens and toxins, especially if it is biodegradable. As more consumers are seeking out products that are allergy and toxin-free, your packaging and products can meet these demands too.
- A well-thought-out logistics plan with smaller, lighter packaging means you pay less in shipping costs.
Smart Materials: Compostable Packaging and Bags and More
Today, there are eco-friendly packaging materials and strategies abound. In addition to developing packaging that packs more uniformly with fewer materials, there are scores of compostable shipping bags, recyclable packaging materials, and more to support your earth-friendly initiatives. This includes:
- Biodegradable packing peanuts and other loose fill
- Recyclable corrugate bubble wrap to replace plastic
- Recycled cardboard and compostable paper packaging
- Inflatable air pillows to replace styrofoam
- Packaging made from other materials like cornstarch, mushrooms, and even seaweed
OceanX understands the importance of reducing plastic pollution. As shared in a joint press release with Extreme E:
“An estimated 32 percent of all plastic packaging used globally does not get recycled or disposed of properly & winds up in nature and a staggering 80 percent of plastic found in the ocean comes from this unmanaged waste on land. Traditional plastics last thousands of years in the environment without degrading.”
With Extreme E, we are finding ways to showcase and champion new plastic-free, earth-friendly replacements to eliminate the need for this harmful packaging material in the coming years.
Environmentally Friendly Warehousing
Sustainable fulfillment isn’t just about the packaging your 3PL partner uses. It should also be about the tools and practices in place within the fulfillment center.
Fulfillment centers and warehouses can be hotspots for waste. For example, one account claims that Amazon generated 465 million pounds of plastic waste in 2019. While Amazon stated that they actually used 116 million pounds of plastic packaging, not 465 million pounds as initially stated, this is still a staggering amount of plastic waste.
Online retailers who are committed to sustainable fulfillment should ensure that they are working alongside 3PL providers who also have sustainable practices.
For example, within the OceanX fulfillment centers:
- We use electric forklifts instead of gas forklifts in all our facilities
- We place careful attention on the waste we produce and recycle all of our corrugate and paper products
- We’ve formed partnerships with recycling firms to make recycling or returned and expired products more sustainable
- We have multiple fulfillment centers located around the country to reduce transit emissions
- We partner with regional carriers to further avoid transit emissions by routing through multiple sorting centers
- We share real-time inventory reporting to avoid wasteful product over-ordering and save you money in the process
Plus, OceanX is constantly searching for ways to innovate how we use and consume energy. For example, we have installed solar panels at our Arden, North Carolina fulfillment center to rely on more environmentally friendly forms of energy.
We are also your eyes on the ground. When product arrives from your manufacturers, we can report to you whether or not they are using a surplus of plastic packaging, or if there are ways your suppliers can reduce their use of unsustainable packaging.
Your Ally in Eco-Friendly Fulfillment
Sustainability is one of the biggest decision-making factors that online retailers face in the coming years, and your 3PL partner will play an increasingly critical role in your brand’s overall carbon footprint since shipping and packaging are two of the places in the supply chain where brands generate most of their carbon footprint.
As an online retailer, you can only innovate at the speed of your 3PL’s innovation, which means that now is the time to partner with a 3PL that is as committed to sustainable practices as you are. At OceanX, sustainability is part of our larger company ethos. We understand that the environment is one of the biggest stakeholders in the health and beauty industry. Reducing our environmental impact is one of the biggest criteria in the decisions we make every day.
We approach sustainability with intentionality and a sense of purpose. To learn more about how we can reduce your carbon footprint, contact our team today.