How to balance profitability and sustainability in e-commerce

How to balance profitability and sustainability in e-commerce | 4-minute read

E-commerce has revolutionised the way consumers shop, and the convenience of next-day delivery services and expansive product selections is second to none, but what impact is this having on the environment?

From packaging waste to carbon emissions from transportation, the unparalleled convenience of online shopping is having a devastating impact on the environment.

Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their online purchases so it’s important that e-commerce businesses react to the demand for sustainable and eco-friendly products and service.

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In this blog, we will look at the environmental impact of e-commerce, the benefits of sustainability, sustainable and ethical practices, and strategies on how businesses can be profitable and sustainable.

The environmental impact of e-commerce

There are many environmental challenges associated with e-commerce, including packaging waster, carbon emissions from transportation, energy consumption in warehouses, and returns and disposal waste.

A study on the environmental impact of e-commerce worldwide by Statista suggests that by 2030 the total emissions caused by parcel and freight shipping are forecast to generate 25 million metric tons of CO2. This is the equivalent to the average energy use of approximately 2300 homes.

As an e-commerce business owner, it is your responsibility to implement sustainable supply chain practices to improve your e-commerce stores environmental footprint.

The benefits of sustainability

There are many benefits of sustainability for e-commerce businesses including significant cost savings and enhanced brand reputation. Additional benefits of sustainability for e-commerce include:

Operational efficiencies

Implementing sustainable practices can streamline operations, improve productivity, and enhance supply chain management. This is achieved by minimising resource consumption, optimising processes, and encouraging a culture of continuous improvement.

Positive social impact

Environmentally friendly practices help to improve air and water quality, protect biodiversity, and support local communities. By going green, e-commerce businesses can contribute to the well-being of society and make a positive change.

Access to new markets

Offering sustainable products and services is likely to appeal to a new market of environmentally conscious consumers. Consequently, this presents new opportunities to e-commerce businesses to expand customer base and the target audience.

Customer loyalty and talent retention

With an increased focus on sustainability in e-commerce, employees and consumers are likely to be more attracted and loyal to businesses prioritising sustainable practices and social responsibility. This gives businesses that choose to go green a competitive edge.

Sustainable and ethical practices for e-commerce

Reduce packaging waste

Using eco-friendly packaging materials for packaging orders, such as recycled or bio gradable materials to minimise package waster. Making packaging reusable also helps to reduce one time use of plastics and can reduce global plastic waste.

Collaborate with suppliers

By working closely and collaborating with suppliers, e-commerce businesses can ensure transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain. This is also a great opportunity for e-commerce stores to encourage suppliers to adopt sustainable and ethical standards.

Optimise transportation and logistics

Optimise transportation and logistics by consolidating shipments, optimising routes, and choosing environmentally friendly transportation options such as electric vehicles. By doing so, e-commerce businesses can reduce environmental impact by minimising carbon emissions.

How can e-commerce businesses be profitable and sustainable?

E-commerce business can be both profitable and sustainable through a combination of strategic initiatives. Some of the ways e-commerce businesses can balance profitability and sustainability are as follows:

  • Sustainable sourcing
  • Energy-efficient operations
  • Eco-friendly packaging
  • Waste reduction and recycling schemes
  • Sustainable product design
  • Customer education
  • Accountability
  • Community engagement
  • Continuous improvement

Why choose Unicorn Accounting?

Ensure you keep on top of your finances and tax obligations by outsourcing to an accountant. This means that you don’t need to worry about your end of year accounts, payroll, or bookkeeping requirements.

At Unicorn Accounting, we are e-commerce accountants who help make your online business a growing success. We offer e-commerce accounting advice, financial management bookkeeping, cash flow statement, and tax filing services to support and scale your business.

Our team of accountants and Xero certified advisors have experience working with both small start-ups and family run online stores to large scale, international retail and e-commerce brands.

If you’ve got an online store, we have the best solution for you. Providing you with a financial arm to your business through our sector experience and skills with innovative technologies. To see how we can help you maximise the scalability of your e-commerce brand all year round, get in touch with Unicorn Accounting today or click here to get a free quote.

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