Eco-Friendly E-Commerce: How Can Businesses Be More Sustainable with DHL Express

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Shopping online is quick, easy, and uncomplicated. There is nothing like the thrill of getting something you ordered in the mail. According to Forbes, in 2021 alone, e-commerce sales surpassed US$4.2 trillion worldwide. But what does this mean for our environment?  As convenient as it is to shop online, online transactions come with carbon footprints as well. In order for your parcel to reach your doorstep, it needs to be shipped via land, sea or air. With shipping comes packing boxes, transportation emissions and single-use plastic, slowly contributing to climate change.

Concern for the future of our planet and efforts to combat the impacts of global warming is on the rise. There has been a switch in thinking that has led to a greater concern for sustainability, particularly in e-commerce. So, what does sustainability look like in an e-commerce business model and why is it important? The sheer volume of waste produced by the supply-chain network has virtually rendered it vital for companies to rethink their business practices. It is important to find sustainable solutions within the industry by adopting green logistics.  Doing so not only reduces environmental impact but also helps you better appeal to sustainability-minded consumers and improve your brand image. 

Embracing eco-friendly steps can start simple. Shipping processes can become more sustainable through a change in packaging, and shipping in bulk. By adopting such strategies, you can reduce your carbon footprint and boost your business’ bottom line. Read on to find out how you can show that your business cares about being sustainable and creating a positive change for the environment. 

1. Sell environmentally-friendly products

Partner with manufacturers or suppliers with sustainable practices and advertise your e-commerce business as a seller of sustainable products. You can start by providing eco-friendly alternatives to existing products, products that minimise waste and allow people to live more sustainably. A good example would be LARQ, an e-commerce brand selling aesthetically pleasing self-cleaning water bottles. Since there is no compromise made on how the product looks, more people are willing to purchase it and hence, eschew single-use plastic bottles. 

2. Prevent customer returns

Returns and exchanges eat up a lot of transportation emissions, shipping expenses, and packaging waste. Cutting down on returns can reduce your emissions levels drastically and contribute to the overall sustainability of your business.

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But how can e-commerce businesses prevent customers from returning products? You can ensure that your products are advertised accurately on your website, without leaving out any key details in their descriptions. This is so that customers can be sure that what they are seeing is what they are getting, and this will reduce the chances of them returning it. You can also try implementing policies that inhibit customers from making overly large orders. This will prevent them from purchasing with the intention of returning some of the items. This policy can be implemented by setting a purchasing limit of one to two orders of any given apparel in a single size at a time. 

In order to make returns unappealing to customers, you can offer small discounts to them if they choose to waive their return option. Alternatively, you can also consider removing free returns as an option completely. This way, customers might think twice before ordering additional products they might not need. Should customer returns be necessary, DHL Express implements sustainable solutions on the last mile by ensuring that 30% of our long-haul transport including aviation operates on sustainable fuels by 2030.

3. Use sustainable shipping methods with DHL Express

Choose recycled, sustainable packaging when selecting boxes and packaging materials for shipping purposes. Try sourcing out for recycled boxes or offer a shipping discount for methods that use less carbon. Bundle goods in a single box for one order instead of shipping in multiple boxes and ship in bulk whenever possible. You can also try to reduce the number of goods you sell that have to be imported from far-off locations. Try to buy in bulk from local manufacturers, suppliers, and makers whenever possible. This helps to reduce emissions during importation. 

To ensure that your goods are shipped sustainably, use DHL Express for all your shipping needs. We are the first logistics business to pledge to a zero-emissions target by 2050, and our innovative green logistics solutions have also helped customers achieve their environmental goals. Some of these efforts include striving towards electrifying 60% of the last-mile delivery automobiles and aiming to create all-new owned buildings in carbon-neutral designs leveraging the latest green technologies, both by 2030. 

Now more than ever, it is critical to take steps towards preserving our precious earth. Start your journey towards building a sustainable e-commerce business with DHL Express now.