In the wake of the COP27 summit, business leaders must begin to develop ways to make their companies more environmentally friendly. Additionally, they need to future-proof their business models to ensure that they can mitigate any impact from climate change in the coming years.
Whether that means launching more sustainable products, reducing and offsetting their carbon footprints, or completely re-thinking the way they do business, company bosses now understand that they have a responsibility to help in this global effort in any way they can.
Some of the key results from the COP27 and previous COP26 summits included ministers agreeing to close the gap in rising temperatures, provide resources to climate-vulnerable communities, and adapt to ongoing climate change disruptions such as lower crop yields.
So, what can business owners do to help as this global effort ramps up? This post will outline nine reasons why e-commerce businesses should consider selling sustainable products.
1. Sustainable products create less waste
Products made from recycled or biodegradable materials create less waste and are therefore better for the environment. Plastic waste is becoming an out-of-control problem in our oceans, and collective action may be the only way to mitigate these harmful effects. Business owners can become part of the solution by stocking sustainable, environmentally-sound products.
2. Changing regulations may make sustainability a necessity
What is a sustainable product? Well, the short answer is: there is no universal definition. In many cases, a product that is made from recycled or recyclable materials could be deemed 'sustainable'. Secondhand goods, non-toxic and biodegradable items could also be classed as sustainable. A legal definition has yet to be put forward, but that doesn't mean that legal parameters for sustainable products won't be established soon.
In fact, since the first COP event took place in 1995, over 2,000 climate-related laws have been passed worldwide.
Many leaders have figured out that green policies can be a vote-winner, so business leaders, regardless of where they are in the world, can expect that new eco-friendly rules and regulations will impact them soon. Getting ahead of the curve and exploring your sustainability options now could save your business time, money, and effort in the future.
3. Consumers demand sustainable products
A global survey by Accenture found that over half of consumers actively seek out environmentally friendly products and are willing to pay a premium for these goods.
As populations begin to feel climate change-related impacts, consumers are demanding that bosses of all kinds — including e-commerce leaders — take action to stop environmental damage.
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4. Gain access to new types of "green finance"
With the growth of alternative peer-to-peer lending platforms and innovations within the FinTech sector as a whole, 'green lenders' are rapidly becoming a means for many business owners to expand their operations.
Lenders like Lombard offer loans to businesses looking to become more sustainable, offering great asset finance deals if you want to create a more sustainable supply chain for your company. Green lenders also partner d with investment and environmental experts who can offer you excellent business planning advice.
5. Remain competitive in an innovative market
Suppose avenues to access green finance initiatives and changes to business regulations haven't done enough to convince you to go green yet. In that case, you can guarantee that some of your direct competitors are getting the message.
It could be tough to remain competitive in the years to come if you don’t ‘go green’. Many businesses that have updated their sustainability practices are already making huge profits — and these are likely to rise over the next decade.
One example from the foodservice industry is Chipotle. Since the brand introduced humane and sustainable raw ingredients in 2015, they have increased profit margins to 12.1%. In comparison, the average fast food industry profit margin sits at around 4.6%.
6. Attract and retain talented employees
By the year 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce. And according to a survey by the Governance and Accountability Institute Inc, 70% of millennials want to work for environmentally sustainable companies. Therefore, if you're going to attract and retain staff in this talent pool, you need to give them eco-friendly incentives, including a list of ‘green’ company values.
7. Create loyal brand advocate
As mentioned, consumers place a premium on sustainably sourced and developed goods. You can increase your word-of-mouth advertising and brand loyalty without spending a penny more on marketing if you sell sustainable products.
8. Opportunities for self-promotion
If you are looking to refresh your sales messages or draw in more fans on social media, launching a new line of sustainable products is a great way to promote your brand to a wider audience. Most social media business dashboards include tools to help page owners monitor engagement KPIs, so you can track your eco-friendly success.
9. Boost the local economy
Localisation is fast becoming a global business trend thanks to widespread environmental concerns for long-term business operations. This means that sourcing from suppliers in close proximity to your buyers will become a vital means of becoming a more sustainable and ethical business in the years ahead.
Luckily, with sites like Alibaba, it has never been easier to find like-minded suppliers wherever you are. All you have to do is go to the marketplace search bar and type in 'eco-friendly' or related keywords and start a conversation with one of the vetted and reliable merchants on the platform.
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