We all have a growing awareness that the earth’s resources are limited, and if we don’t do our part, we’ll leave the planet worse off than we found it.
That plays out in many aspects of our lives, and informs so many of the choices we make – including where and how we shop.
Many conscious consumers are turning away from the world of “fast fashion” and cheap products made from plastics and other non-renewable resources, and choosing instead to support brands that prioritize sustainability-focused initiatives.
In the United States, 61% of consumers say that they prioritize eco-friendly merchants when choosing where to spend their shopping dollars. They’re likely to make fewer purchases overall, but invest in high-quality products that use renewable resources and make a commitment to reducing waste and offsetting carbon emissions.
Some of the ways that merchants are taking initiatives to become more eco-friendly include:
- Reducing or eliminating single-use plastics from their supply chain: Using sustainable materials is a key part of building an environmentally-friendly brand. Many brands are choosing to invest in natural resources including cork, tree fibers, wool, organic cotton, and recycled plastics, rather than using single-use plastic in their manufacturing process.
- Reducing packaging and carbon emissions in shipping and reverse logistics: Some brands are turning away from air freight and prioritizing boat freight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with delivering their products, as well as reducing the amount of packaging materials used. With regards to returns, some brands are donating customers’ unwanted goods to support disadvantaged communities and provide their products with a second life.
- Prioritizing renewable energy sources: Some brands are also investing in their own infrastructure that uses solar power, wind power, and other renewable energy sources, in contrast to traditional fossil fuels, to help reduce their carbon footprint in the manufacturing process.
Fortunately, for shoppers who want to choose eco-friendly brands, they’ll find many ecommerce options that will help them support the earth with their purchases.
Here are a handful of our favorite sustainable Shopify merchants:
This beauty product brand produces organic and sustainable product lines including skincare, cosmetics, and hair and body products. Its ingredients are all-natural and cruelty-free, and the brand gives back with every purchase: Customers can choose to either donate a bowl of vegan dog food to a shelter dog, or to donate the cost of a tree to Trees for the Future.
This company specializes in bulk refills of common home and personal care items, such as moisturizer and bug spray, and reusable alternatives to disposable items. The business donates at least 1% of sales to ocean conservation, and plants at least one tree with each purchase.
The shoe brand Allbirds produces shoes from sustainable materials including wool, tree fiber, sugarcane, and recycled plastic bottles. Allbirds’ commitment to using renewable resources means that its shoes have a carbon footprint that’s 30% smaller than a typical pair of sneakers. It has also made ambitious commitments to use renewable energy for all of its owned facilities, maximize ocean shipping rather than air shipping, and ultimately reduce their carbon footprint to near zero by 2030.
Allbirds incorporates recycled packaging, and when customers want to send back lightly used returns, the company donates them to Soles4Souls, supporting disadvantaged communities and helping their shoes find a second life instead of ending up in a landfill.
Allbirds sets out its ambitious goals, and how it plans to achieve them and benchmark against them, in their sustainability report.
This bedding and textile company is committed to using 100% organic cotton in its products, and saves 90% of the water used in conventional farming methods. The company is also the first Fair Trade Certified linens company, with a fierce commitment to treating its workers fairly and providing fair pay. The company ships its goods by boat rather than air, saving over 21,000 tons of carbon emissions. Learn more about their sustainable practices here.
This line of Swedish dishcloths is made from organic cotton and other biodegradable materials, and can replace 17 rolls of paper towels. For every dishcloth sold, 20 gallons of water are restored to nature through their partnership with 1% for the Planet.
Pets need some love, too. Wigglywoos provides sustainable supplies for your furry friends, with all-vegan products made from materials including hemp, cork, and cotton. The brand’s collection includes collars, leashes, harnesses, and ID tags, all of which are sustainably sourced and BPA-free.
Yoloha is a 100% carbon neutral company that produces yoga mats from cork, which can be produced from hand-stripping the bark from trees without chopping them down. The company also incorporates sugarcane into its Plant Foam material, resulting in a yoga mat made from 70% renewable materials.
The company also ships using only recycled or recyclable cardboard materials, and minimal packaging.
Learn more about its sustainability initiatives here.
These merchants are a few of the many that have made a commitment to protecting the environment with their practices – and if you want to join their ranks, Earth Day provides a perfect opportunity to start thinking about how you can improve your store’s own sustainability efforts.
Start by identifying opportunities to reduce waste in your manufacturing process and your shipping process, and making the shift to organic and renewable products whenever possible. You might also consider contributing to a carbon offset fund or organization that promotes conservation with a portion of sales.
Returns are also a key area where your brand can make a move towards conservation: six billion pounds of returned products and packaging ends up in landfills each year. By automating your returns management with a solution like Loop, you can set conditions for when a product should be returned for resale, when it should be shipped to a donation center, or when you should simply ask the customer to recycle the product or pass it along to a friend.
Want to learn more about how Loop can help your brand with its sustainability initiatives? Contact our team.