Packaging is a vital part of any business. It ensures the product’s safety throughout delivery while also giving the buyer a first impression of the company’s image and values. In fact, many customers choose their products based on packaging alone, whether that’s because it’s sustainable or because it has a sleek design.
As consumers take on a growing awareness of environmental and ethical consumerism, it’s more important than ever for businesses to adopt sustainable packaging methods. This is especially true for e-commerce businesses, which rely heavily on packaging to sell and distribute their goods.
This article explores the benefits of switching to sustainable packaging in e-commerce businesses.
Greater Customer Approval
An ethical consumerist mindset is rapidly sweeping the market, with a growing number of consumers changing their buying habits to promote ethically and environmentally conscious brands. Many customers are going out of their way to avoid traditional, single-use plastic materials, with 74% of consumers willing to pay more for sustainable packaging. The rise of ethical consumerism is quickly changing the global market and giving businesses that have clear sustainability efforts an advantage over those that lack environmental initiatives. Many companies and different industries are turning to more sustainable methods such as custom cannabis packaging, which is focusing on recyclable packing items for its customers.
Plastic packaging is a growing concern for many customers, with harmful, non-degradable plastic pollution filling oceans and waterways at alarming rates. Single-use plastic, primarily packaging, is one of the leading causes of plastic pollution, and consumers are eager to avoid it as much as possible.
Reducing Costs and Saving Money
One of the biggest hurdles that many e-commerce businesses face when switching to sustainable packaging is the initial investment costs. However, switching to sustainable packaging can help your business save money in the long run. While initial costs of researching options and shifting to sustainable packaging methods may require a hefty monetary and time investment, the long-term benefits will likely surpass these fairly quickly.
Not only does sustainable packaging help attract and retain environmentally-conscious customers, but it also helps reduce shipping costs, as sustainable materials are typically lighter and more space-efficient, eliminating unnecessary resource consumption and plastic usage.
Some e-commerce businesses are even switching to bioplastics as their primary packaging, which eliminate the need for oil-based plastics and nondegradable waste. While bioplastics and dissolvable plastics are typically more expensive than traditional plastic packaging, the field of sustainable plastics is rapidly developing, and will likely reduce in cost significantly over the coming years.
Cleaner Packaging, Cleaner Supply Chain
In most businesses, the majority of carbon emissions, environmental impacts, and social impacts stem from the value chain. The Scope 3 emissions of a business, or the emissions produced upstream and downstream of the company, often go undetected and unaddressed when improving environmental efforts. However, improving packaging materials can be a significant step in bettering sustainability practices throughout the entire value chain.
Supply chain management systems can be extremely complex and overwhelming, but making efforts to improve them can have major impacts on your business. By evaluating the materials, origins, and production practices of your packaging, you can open up clearer communication with your suppliers.
Supply chain transparency not only helps improve the environmental initiatives that consumers look for, but also helps improve resiliency and adaptability in your business. As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, global and local disruptions can have severe consequences on businesses that aren’t prepared for the worst, and those that are prepared for obstacles have significant advantages in the face of unforeseen events.
Making the switch to sustainable packaging can be a daunting and potentially expensive endeavor, which can turn many e-commerce businesses away. However, sustainable packaging is an investment with fast returns that attract the growing number of environmentally-conscious consumers and reduces packaging materials. By switching to sustainable materials, e-commerce businesses can boost their profits while simultaneously doing what’s right for the planet.