Since customers have become less patient and expect to receive their orders as soon as possible, technology has become an essential element of business operations. However, consumers are also becoming more concerned about global climate change, and with good reason. According to an EIA study, fuel emissions accounted for 74% of the US’s total GHG emissions in 2019.
People are concerned about the environment, and 66% of a McKinsey & Co survey’s respondents said they consider sustainability when they make a purchase, because they know that packaging and transportation can have a negative impact on the planet. Therefore, they expect companies to commit to protecting the environment and offer sustainable solutions.
In this post, we will introduce a few ways companies can offer eco-friendly deliveries. But first of all, let's take a quick look at why it is important for your company to switch to greener options.
Why companies are looking for more sustainable ways to ship orders
Customers often look at a company’s environmental footprint before deciding to buy their products. In fact, a company that is eco-friendly is usually perceived to be better than one that’s not, as customers believe that brands are also responsible for creating positive environmental change.
While this switch towards more eco-friendly solutions is a challenge for companies, more businesses are looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Here are different ways you could make your deliveries more sustainable.
Use electric vehicles
In order to reduce fuel emissions, more businesses have started using electric vehicles. In 2020, EV sales reached a record high, and this trend will likely continue in the following years as people become more concerned about climate change.
This is why companies like Amazon have started looking at electric vehicles as a way to minimize fuel emissions. The company bought 100,000 electric vehicles and is already testing them on delivery routes.
Amazon is not the only company that has made the switch to EVs. Many corporations have done the same for their deliveries, testing electric vehicles as it is for Uber, Walmart, Unilever, Google, FedEx, and others. Most of them have made promises that they will transition to a fully electric fleet by the 2030s and aim to achieve net-zero emissions by the 2040s.
Delivery vans usually don’t travel very long distances every day, which keeps their cost pretty low since they don’t require big battery packs. Therefore, not only does it preserve the planet, but it might also allow you to reduce costs.
If you’d like your company to be more environmentally friendly, you should also look at your packaging, as it is usually made of materials like plastic. As we know, plastic is a major environmental issue; in fact, 14.5 million tons of plastic were created in 2018. Because of COVID-19 and lockdowns, people are ordering items online much more often, especially food, which often comes in plastic boxes, thereby significantly increasing plastic consumption.
However, according to a FreightWaves survey, “74% of customers feel packaging materials have a moderate to high impact on sustainability” and “81% believe that companies use excessive packaging when shipping products.”
Therefore, you should start thinking about more sustainable ways to package your products. For example, you could use boxes that are made of renewable materials, which would reduce carbon emissions. Bamboo is usually used as a biodegradable material, and it will naturally decompose.
Some companies have switched from bubble-wrap packaging (made of plastic) to 100% recycled corrugated cardboard. It protects just as well as bubble wrap and is made entirely from recyclable materials.
Air pillows can also be a good way to protect deliveries, and though they are made of plastic, they are mostly filled with air, which reduces the amount of plastic used.
There is also packaging that uses organic materials such as cornstarch, mushroom, or seaweed. This will prevent agricultural waste while reducing plastic use for deliveries.